The Student Advocacy Organization has successfully advocated for change in a policy that has caused students to miss class time due to the scheduling of judicial hearings.
In the beginning of the Spring 2010 semester, judicial advisors for the SAO were informed that the Office of Student Conduct was scheduling students to attend obligatory judicial hearings during class time. During the course of advising students, four clients of the SAO were forced to miss class. As a result, Jon Dooley, President of the SAO, spoke about this issue on campus, generated support against the policy, and then intimated the concern to the PC Faculty Senate. Jon submitted a resolution for review that was referred to the Committee on Academic Course Review.
On Wednesday, March 10, Jon attended the Faculty Senate meeting where he addressed a crowd of over one hundred faculty members, students, and administrators. The following is an excerpt from his presentation. “While we can presume that students missing class for this issue is a rare occurrence, this practice has everything to do with being an impediment to education. When students have to miss class it contradicts the academic mission of Providence College. I believe that it impacts faculty who have just as much of a stake in it as well. The issue demonstrates the shoring up on the wall that protects the dignity of faculty first…These four cases send the message that when it comes to a hearing and a class, the hearing prevails which undoubtedly creates a de-emphasis on academics. Time in the classroom is the most important time that we will spend at Providence College.”
Upon the conclusion of his speech, several professors spoke in support of the resolution and expressed their opinions that students are entitled to be in class. While the Office of Student Conduct had communicated to the Committee that this occurrence is a rarity and only happened five times, another professor stood up and stated that he had three students just that week that missed class due to a hearing. These students were separate from the four who were in contact with the SAO, which provided evidence that this problem is more widespread.
After fifteen minutes of debate, a resolution was submitted by a senator that reads “Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate recommends to the Dean of Discipline that no judicial hearing be held in conflict with classes of any student involved in the hearing.” The resolution was called to vote where it passed unanimously with one abstention. The resolution is now in the process of being considered for approval by Fr. Brian Shanley, President of Providence College.
It should also be noted that two weeks later, legislation was proposed and then passed in Student Congress asking the Office of Student Conduct to end this unfair practice of scheduling.
Minutes from the Faculty Senate Meeting can be accessed here: