Opinion: Changes to code of conduct are promising

Opinion: Changes to code of conduct are promising

Cory Spiers

When Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 74 on Aug. 23, he passed legislation allowing students and student organizations to use attorney or non-attorney advocates in some parts of student conduct.

The provision is in the Reform Regulatory Act of 2013, and as long as academic dishonesty is not the conduct violation in question, students are permitted legal representation. That is, unless the Student Conduct Board is involved, as it is made up entirely of students.

Susan McCracken, director of external affairs and community relations, told The Appalachian that this new process takes away from the educational experience of student conduct. 

I strongly disagree.

Since students have a right to use representation when dealing with civic authority, they should also have access to it in the academic arena.

Going through a judicial process is educational regardless of whether it takes place in a courtroom or an academic setting. Students undoubtedly learn a great deal about the way the law works, or in this case, the conduct code of Appalachian State University.

Education is not the issue. What presents a problem is students who may not understand their legal rights when faced with a situation that puts them in trouble with Student Conduct.

Cindy Wallace, vice chancellor of student development, told The Appalachian that using Student Conduct as a learning tool is more positive and beneficial to students.

However, the allowance of legal representation is not applicable to academic dishonesty.

It is unreasonable to force students who have to answer to on-campus authority without representation when they are entitled to defend themselves in a formal setting.

This will be expensive, but mature students will understand that they are responsible for their actions.

Students should be afforded the same representation on campus that they are off campus.

Opinion: ERICA BADENCHINI, Opinion writer