UO Updates Code of Conduct and Clarifies Off-Campus Jurisdiction

EUGENE, Oregon – The University of Oregon has expanded the language of its student code of conduct, which could give more flexibility to students who violate COVID-19 safety measures while off campus.

The OU’s board adopted the new language at a board meeting on Thursday. The code of conduct now applies to off-campus students whose behavior “seriously threatens the health and safety of any person.”

The old language still allowed the university to hold students accountable for off-campus behavior that had a “negative impact” on the community, but made no mention of health. According to meeting documents, the changes were approved by the university’s general counsel before the council vote.

It’s still unclear how the university will use the revised language to prosecute hosts and attendees of large off-campus parties, like the one that drew 500 people earlier this month and was dispersed by Eugene’s police.

The UO Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is used to investigate major off-campus parties. School officials said they met with student leaders and local property managers to clarify rules and resources.

The consequences of violating the UO Student Code of Conduct may include educational sanctions, disciplinary probation, or suspension.

Earlier this month, Kay Jarvis, spokesperson for the university, declined to say whether the university had sanctioned students for breaking COVID-19 rules by citing “privacy laws.”

On campus, students have mixed feelings about the university’s jurisdiction over events that occur off campus.

“As someone who lives off campus, [I’m] not exactly a big fan of it, ”said sophomore Caleb Baker. “You leave campus to get a little more of that freedom and finally start to branch out and know how to control yourself. “

But not everyone agrees. Freshman Loïe Bonnet understands why the university would want to control off-campus student behavior.

“They definitely have some sort of jurisdiction,” she said, pointing out that what happens off campus ends up coming back to campus.

The Board of Directors unanimously approved the amended wording of the code of conduct.

Thelma J. Longworth

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