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The NCHERM Group Model Code Project Introduces Developmental Framework For Code of Student Conduct

Project Intended to Engage Field Members and Help Shape Future Model Codes

MALVERN, Pa., Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A Developmental Framework for A Code of Student Conduct:  The NCHERM Group Model Code Project was borne from the fact that previous model codes had contributed immensely to the progress of the field of student conduct.  Campus conduct systems would not have evolved as effectively as they have without models to show the way.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130924/PH84828 )

This model code is intended to help shape the future evolution of the field because model codes have become the primary conduit for doing so.  But, this work rests on the foundations laid by Gary Pavela, Ed Stoner and John Wesley Lowery, and the work their model codes began.

The following were the manifold guiding precepts to craft a model:

  • That stemmed the tide of legalistic codes by putting the developmental voice first, while still quietly heeding the necessary legal underpinnings of conduct codes;
  • Containing rules that were focus-grouped with students, for administrators too often seek to govern their conduct without their input;
  • That would be a tool of education, prevention, social justice, and community-building as much as a retrospective gauge of whether misconduct has occurred;
  • Deeply imbued with the values, mission, and ethos held dear within institutions of higher education;
  • That offered clear expectations, well-defined terms, and elegantly simplified procedures;
  • Whose language was policy-based, rather than legalistic and archaic (to wit, the words "shall" and "charge" have been banished);
  • Whose flexibility would take campuses away from an era of rigid procedural frameworks to better allow for developmental and educational aims to inculcate mature decision-making and guide students to better align their actions with their values;
  • That would embrace social justice as a hallmark of a document rooted in the origins and the now of the civil-rights movement;
  • That would lean heavily toward conflict resolution mechanisms and investigation functions;
  • That would fundamentally reimagine the appeals process that on too many campuses is either broken or increasingly dysfunctional; 

These ideas don't magically define best practices, and some of the more progressive ideas will take some getting used to.  There are other sources of expertise on this subject, and so this code project is being offered with a unique opportunity to engage the entire field in the iterative and evolutionary development of the project.

The code project is posted to a Code Wiki www.modelcode.wikia.com.  If an edit or change is suggested, the Wiki moderator (not affiliated with The NCHERM Group) will decide if it is an improvement on the original language or if it is worth considering as an alternative. Comments will be posted for all to see.  Post a code, section or innovative idea to help create the first online open source collaborative code of student conduct.  This work product can only be strengthened by many voices, diversity, perspectives and experiences. 

The code offers flexible procedures, and often suggests several alternative language options for consideration. There are three versions, one for public universities, one for private institutions and one for community colleges. Lastly, the code is divided into four parts:  Preface, Rules, Procedures and Community Standards. Supplements to the free model are also offered, including the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA) model voluntary/involuntary medical/psychological leave protocol, and The NCHERM Group/ATIXA One Policy, One Process Model, which allows the resolution of all discrimination claims involving all employees and students through one unified policy and process.  To familiarize the field with this product, the Public University Model Code (unannotated) version will be published for free to the higher education community with the expectation that it be adapted, modified and revised it to fit institutional needs, culture and values.

Of course, the services of The NCHERM Group remain available:

  • Assist in code review, updating and/or implementation process;
  • Train campus conduct advisors, investigators, hearings officers and appeals officers;
  • Assess compliance with any law or statute impacting on the student conduct process.

To purchase copies of the community college or private institution versions, the model leave protocol or the One Policy, One Process Model, please contact:

Michelle Issadore, M.Ed.
Assistant Vice President for Operations and Public Information

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