Does the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct need re-writing?

By Jessica Robinson, Editor-in-Chief

With Laurentian’s confirming the university’s athletic disciplinary procedure involving a Committee of Inquiry has not been tested in recent years, suspended Voyageurs are wondering whether or not the policy needs to be updated in order to better fit real life circumstances.

Five veterans players from the Voyageurs men’s basketball team were recently suspended for their conduct during a “rookie party,” putting their season at risk.

According to fourth-year player Joe Sykes, the players’ greatest concerns is the policy’s lack of clarity when it comes to defining terms like “hazing” and “initiation.”

Even after having read through the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct multiple times, Sykes maintains that the current disciplinary action is too harsh for what transpired.

“From my perspective and the perspective of the other individuals currently under suspension, we believe that there has been an injustice done upon us,” Sykes said.

“Ideally, we are vindicated through the [inquiry] process.”

But Chris Mercer, Laurentian’s executive director of student life, said the code takes into consideration the institution’s values, not necessarily specific events.

“You know, you’re talking about values, you’re talking about beliefs and expectations, you’re talking about behaviours, without trying to write it in such a way where if there’s a situation you didn’t contemplate, you then don’t have a mechanism to be able to deal with it,” he said.

“But I do take your point that it’s not as clear perhaps as it could be in the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.”

Mercer said in the wake of the Voyageurs’ suspensions, he is not opposed to revisiting the code of conduct, but he also isn’t ready to say that the policy is not performing adequately.

“I think anytime any policy is tested, it should encourage reflection as to how that policy stood up to that test,” he said.

“I think it would be a little premature to presuppose how the policy did, per say, but I absolutely share your view that any time a policy is tested, you need to be learning,” Mercer said.

“And if it needs to adapt with the world, then we need to be open to having it adapt with the world.”

“It’s about having the language change with the times,” Mercer said.