Cracking down on harassment


Bill Oye, who is drafting the new rules, speaks at the ASDVC meeting held Tuesday, April 24.

Keith Montes, Managing editor

Coming fall of 2012, students may be subject to tougher policies related to drug use, harassment and disruption.  Proposed changes to the student conduct policy could give our district the power to discipline students for off-campus actions.

Over the summer dean of student life Bill Oye drafted the new policies along with Vicki Ferguson of Contra Costa College and Blas Guerrero of Los Medanos College after reviewing a “Dear Colleague” letter from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. In this letter, it calls for creation and greater enforcement of college harassment policies.

Under the proposed section which addresses off-campus harassment, the new DVC policy states, “The College may have an obligation to respond to student-on-student harassment that initially occurred off campus.” This verbiage has come under criticism by students.

Pre-nursing student Shronda Wallace says, “That’s an invasion of privacy.”

While Ben Prouty, an administration of justice major, states, “I guess it feels like we are back in high school again.”

Oye explains, “…it would only be considered if there were also harassment on campus and a complaint that a hostile environment has been created for the complainant.”

The policies being considered also include what happens to students when they are disruptive in class. It states in the case of repeated offenses, a student may be suspended by the president’s designee for the remainder of a semester. A student would be able to request a preliminary hearing but would have to do so with five days or the decision would be considered final.

In offenses related to drug use, the considered policies will also address the misuse of prescription drugs and inhalation or ingestion of substances which would alter a student’s state of mind. These and other offenses would be kept in a student’s record by the president’s designee.

These records would be classified as “disposable” after three years or what is described as “other exit from the District.” The District would have the ability to keep these records longer if it identified as “active and useful for administrative, legal, fiscal or other purposes” in which case it would be classified as “continuing” record.

Students are able to give their input on these policies by speaking directly with the dean of student life, Bill Oye, or by contacting their student representatives in the student government and District Governance Council. The changes being discussed may come into effect as early as fall 2012.