UMN Board of Regents Propose Change in Student Conduct Code

Mitchell Rolling

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The University of Minnesota Board of Regents recently proposed a change to the Student Conduct Code, giving the Regents a much broader scope in implicating student groups in violations carried out by individual members. 

Section VII of the Student Conduct Code currently reads as the following:

    “Subd. 4. Conduct of a student who is a member of a student group will not be considered to be conduct of the student group unless the facts and circumstances surrounding the conduct suggest that the student group sponsored, organized, or otherwise endorsed the conduct.”

The proposed change would replace this statement with the following:

     “Subd. 4. Subject also to the other subdivisions of this Section, a student group may be held responsible for violation of any of the Disciplinary Offenses listed in Section IV of the Student Conduct Code based on the conduct of its individual members if: 

    (a) the student group directed, sponsored, or endorsed the conduct that violated the Student Conduct Code; or 

    (b) any officer or officers of the student group knew or reasonably should have known the conduct that violated the Student Conduct Code was likely to occur during or directly related to an activity or event conducted by the student group and the officer or officers failed to take appropriate steps to prevent the conduct.

This new policy would allow the University to punish entire student groups for the possible actions of one or two members. Additionally, officials would be able to implement this policy if they deem that any officer of any student group “reasonably should have known the conduct” in question. 

Included in possible violations listed in Section IV are “Disruption of Academic Environment,” “Refusal to Identify and Comply” with police, “Harm to Person,” “Disorderly Conduct,” “Theft, Property Damage, or Vandalism,” “Disruptive Behavior,” which further explains is “willfully disrupting the normal operations of the University and infringes on the rights of others,” “Rioting,” and more. 

The violations listed above would specifically come into use during a protest or riot on campus.

In light of the coming Ben Shapiro event, one might wonder as to whether the University stands ready to implement this policy with the almost certain leftist groups that will protest the Jewish-conservative speaker in February. 

Protests and borderline riots have broken out during similar Ben Shapiro speeches and for other conservative and right-wing speakers at the University of California Berkeley, the University of Utah, UCLA, New York University, and even at the University of Minnesota. During these protests, multiple offenses took place that , would be in violation of the UMN Student Conduct Code. 

Furthermore, the proposed policy change would make it easier for school officials to implicate any student group whose leaders were aware of any individual conduct seen as harmful to others, which would more than likely include burning school property, attacking people attending the events, and not complying with UMN officers.

The protests during the Lauren Southern speech on the UMN campus resulted in one arrest and multiple scuffles with the police. 

Ben Shapiro is a more well-known personality and could attract a more violent protest and more arrests than Lauren Southern. If one of the arrested people happens to be in a student group that was also protesting, will that student group now be held accountable under this new policy?