Honor Committee passes overhaul to Contributory Health Impairment process

New version of CHI to replace interim proposal from last fall

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Gallogly commented on the necessity for the interim policy being driven by specific CHI process timelines, including the timeline for filing a CHI claim. 

Geremia Di Maro | Cavalier Daily

The Honor Committee passed a reconstructed version of the Contributory Health Impairment bylaws last Sunday evening. This version, named V2 by the Contributory Mental Disorder Working Group addressing the effort, will replace the interim psychological procedures and bylaws put in place in November 2018.

The legal language of the CHI is made up of two portions — the bylaws, which are part of the Honor Constitution’s bylaws and the procedures referenced in the bylaws. The CHI V2 procedures were passed at the Honor meeting March 24.

The Honor Committee passed a reconstructed version of the Contributory Health Impairment bylaws. 

The Contributory Health Impairment is a policy that allows students to request an expert assessment prior to moving through Honor proceedings to determine if a mental health condition contributed to the commission of the offense, which is typically overseen by the Office of the Dean of Students and conducted by Student Health or the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services. 

A variety of reforms have been made to the CHI policy within the 2018-2019 term — including changing the name of the policy from the Contributory Mental Disorder process into the Contributory Health Impairment process to make it more inclusive by acknowledging that the current policy also allows for conditions that are not explicitly mental but could still contribute to committing Honor offenses. 

During discussion at the Honor Committee meeting Oct. 29, the Committee explained more specific reasoning behind the name change. According to Honor Committee Chair Ory Streeter, one example of these conditions could be a brain tumor. 

The CHI has undergone multiple versions as the Honor Committee and its support officers have worked groups such as the Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights, the Office of the University Counsel, the Honor Committee’s legal advisor and the CHI Panel. The CHI Panel is comprised of three people — a lawyer, a psychiatrist and a psychologist — who, according to the definition given by the interim procedures, “evaluate the student’s claim to CHI.”

From the 2002 original version, known as the CMD, these organizations created a wholesale rewriting known as CHI V1, which was never implemented. The newest version, which will go into effect April 14, is based on CHI V1 with a few specific changes made with input from the Honor Committee. 

The Honor Committee elected to implement some of the most pressing changes from V1 early in an interim policy before assessing and making any other necessary alterations to V1. CHI V2 is the culmination of these alterations to V1 with approval from the Honor Committee’s legal counsel. 

“There were some of what I would describe as areas of legal concern,” Gallogly said, “where we wanted to make sure we were in full compliance with applicable federal law, mainly the [American with Disabilities Act]. So, those concerns have been existent for a while, and they culminated in the drafting of what I have labeled as CHI V1.”

In an Honor trial, admitting act is different from admitting guilt. Guilt in an Honor trial is made up of three parts — act, knowledge and significance. Without all three of these aspects, an accused student cannot be convicted of an Honor offense.

“The main concerns around the ADA was the act requirement, and if and in what form we could retain it,” Gallogly said. “We eliminated the act requirement in CHI interim in an effort to make sure we were in maximum compliance with the ADA while we evaluated if and how we could retain that requirement.”

The interim policy eliminated the requirement for students to admit act when making a CHI claim. In CHI V2, however, students are only required to admit act following a CHI claim approval by the Office of the Dean of Students.

Gallogly also commented on the necessity for the interim policy being driven by specific CHI process timelines, including the timeline for filing a CHI claim. 

For example, from the CMD to the interim CHI, the available period to request a CHI hearing decreased from 10 days post-I-panel to seven days post-I-panel. Both the interim CHI and CHI V2 also allow the Dean of Students to implement timelines if he or she feels the accused student isn’t participating promptly in the CHI process.

Though the elimination of the admission of act requirement was one of the driving factors for the implementation of the interim procedures, the requirement returns with a different timeline in CHI V2.

In CHI V2, the student is required to admit act following approval by the Office of the Dean of Students but before the CHI hearing. This admission is largely a formality by that point — as claim to a CHI inherently involves admitting that the act was committed.

The CHI V2 also allows an accused student to take both the CHI and the Informed Retraction. According to the Honor Committee’s website, an IR allows a student who has been reported to the Honor Committee to take responsibility both by admitting the offense to all affected parties and by taking a full two-semester Honor Leave of Absence from the University community.

The CHI V2 created the contingent IR to address the need to proceed through a full investigation prior to moving the case into the CHI process in order to provide the Dean and, if applicable, the CHI Panel, with a clear picture of the conduct in question.

“The goal of this process was to make sure that a student who may have a legitimate CHI claim has the exact same ability to take the IR as every other student,” Gallogly said. 

Correction: The article previously misstated that the expert assessment was overseen by the Office of the Dean of Students, was conducted before Honor proceedings and that Student Health and Counseling and Psychological Services oversee the health assessment. It has been changed to reflect that while the CHI process is overseen by ODOS, the psychological evaluation is not, that students do not enter the CHI process until after accused by an I-Panel and that the evaluation is conducted by professionals outside of Student Health and CAPS. In addition, the article did not clarify that the available period to request a CHI hearing decreased by 10 days to 7 days post I-Panel as opposed to before. The article previously also stated that there have been a variety of changes to the CHI policy in the Spring 2019 semester, when there has only been one. It had stated that CHI V2 was changed due to conflicting IR and CHI timeline, but has been updated to reflect that the reason the CHI V2 created the contingent IR was to address the need to proceed through a full investigation prior to moving the case into the CHI process in order to provide the Dean and, if applicable, the CHI Panel, with a clear picture of the conduct in question. 

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