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Council representatives request UJC input in parental notification

Dean of Students Penny Rue met with four Student Council representatives yesterday to discuss whether to include the University Judiciary Committee in the parental notification process.

A Student Council resolution, passed unanimously last March, called for students to have a hand in the implementation of the Parental Notification Policy, which allows administrators to contact a student's parents if he or she has a consistent pattern of alcohol abuse. The policy took effect during the summer, but has no formal mechanism for student input.

The four student representatives who met with Rue presented several proposals, suggesting that a committee should be formed that would be comprised of two UJC judges and the dean of students. In this proposal, the committee would decide by majority opinion if the student's actions warrant the notification of his parents and the student involved would be allowed to present a defense.

Despite the UJC's role in the proposal, Committee Chairman Brian Hudak said he has not been approached by Council.

"Nobody has contacted me with the specifics of any Student Council resolution with regards to parental notification," Hudak said. "I don't know all the details, but I don't understand if they are going to a sanction-based notification policy why the Judiciary Committee can't just do that on our own."

He said the formation of any such committee would have to be the result of a UJC action.

"The Judiciary Committee controls its own destiny and is separate from Student Council and the Dean of Students Office," he added. "Thus it would require a two-thirds Committee vote to modify the bylaws."

But after discussing the proposals with Rue, the Student Council representatives said they felt more comfortable with the fairness of the notification policy, but recognized some obstacles to creating the committee.

College Rep. Nathan A. Cook said Rue was "happy we were working for changes, but had reservations."

Rue plans to meet with other deans to discuss the proposal, but pointed out that forming a student committee could compromise the policy's confidentiality, Cook said.

But even with the current policy, anyone ranging from emergency room personnel to police officers or deans could find out about a student's parents being notified, he said.

Rue, who refused to elaborate on the meeting with the Student Council representatives or what she is planning to do in terms of including the UJC, said the administration has not yet had to contact a student's parents because of the policy.

In response to student concerns about infringement of their privacy, she said "parents are not being contacted to take punitive measures; instead, they are being contacted to help."

The student representatives were optimistic that students' rights will remain intact following the policy's implementation by the administration.

"Our goals seem to be similar," Engineering School Rep. Martin J. Bales said.