Tuesday, March 27, 2007

UWS to extend control off campus

I am back and recovered from spring break. Thanks to those who posted in the discussion over the last week!

Today, the Journal-Sentinel is reporting that UW system is rethinking its rules of student conduct. They want to make it possible for students to be punished for off-campus offenses that would be punishable if they took place on-campus.

The article raises a few concerns about double jeopardy, but I wonder if we are seeing a return of an attitude of 'in loco parentis' that dominated the mindset in the last century. Besides, would it really help change the state-wide culture of drunken abandon?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

the deails may be very problematic but many would welcome some kind of UW policy on student behavior off campus.

and excessive bad behavior by students does nothing good for UW's image

lammers said...

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Some of my ambivalence relates to things I've commented on before: our students are not so firmly tied to the university as students are elsewhere. At many larger schools, the majority of the student body identifies with the campus as its primary residence and theatre-of-operations. A big part of their personal identity centers on the university. "Home" was simply a place you visited when the semester was over. Under those ciorcumstances, it might make sense to hold students responsible for off-campus acts, under the theory they are de facto "representatives" of the university. But here, this attitude is not prevalent. Our students do not feel the kind of attachment to UWO that, e.g., I felt for Iowa State in the 1970s. They come, they go, they drop by, they check in. They don't really "belong" to us, so it does really seem fair to hold them accountable.

The specific problems in Milwaukee seem to me a failure of local government to properly enforce local laws. Let word get around that wild parties lead to 30 days in the county slammer and folks may think twice before getting too rowdy. Hold landlords accountable for acts on their properties.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Paine says:

I agree with the point lammers made about UWO students not feeling connected to the university. The problem is that the general public does connect studentsand their behavior with the university. Fair or not, the university gets the blame when students misbehave. Whether we like it or not, students are regarded as representatives of the UW system.

While I am not sure what the best response should be, I think the university has to be seen as doing something about those students who create problems.

Anonymous said...

"The article raises a few concerns about double jeopardy..."

Not really... the Wisconsin Circuit Court of Appeals already decided that there is no double jeopardy defense involving student discipline actions (Case No. : 96-0967 City of Oshkosh vs. Steven J. Winkler). Even citations for the same offense, committed at the same time, given for the same ordinance violation by multiple jurisdictions may stand as well.

Interestingly this case was as a result of bad student behavior in April 1995 during one of the "student celebrations" that used to be common.

Winkler was cited for Disorderly Conduct by an OPD officer under a City Ordinance. He was also, subsequently charged by UWO with violations of UWS Chapter 17 and Chapter 18. One of the Chapter 18 violations was 18.06(30)... Disorderly Conduct.

Winkler asserted that this was double jeporady due to being charged for the same offense by OPD and UWO as well as being punished by the student discipline process. Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge agreed on the first appeal of his conviction and the OPD charges were dismissed.

Without going into further detail, you can read the brief on the WISBAR web page, the Court of Appeals, citing various reasons including several Supreme Court decisions, reversed the Circuit Court ruling and ordered Winkler's conviction to stand.

lammers said...

Thomas Paine wrote:

>>I agree with the point lammers made about UWO students not feeling connected to the university. The problem is that the general public does connect studentsand their behavior with the university. Fair or not, the university gets the blame when students misbehave. Whether we like it or not, students are regarded as representatives of the UW system.<<

That is a very good point. The key issue isn't so much whether studentsa see themselves as university representatives, it's whether the public sees them as such.

It has always been my view that the best way to correct undesireable behavior is to ensure that actions have consequences. If expanding those consequences to include the university would rein in counter-productive behavior, it may be worth a look.