The University Board of Regents authorized itself Aug. 26 to discipline a student if he or she does something off-campus that negatively affects Murray State.
“Any off-campus conduct or behavior, which would be subject to disciplinary action if it occurred on campus, will be subject to disciplinary proceedings if it adversely affects or raises reasonable concerns for the safety or well-being of any person or property on campus, or if it is detrimental to the objectives or purposes of the University or any of the University’s programs or operations,” the Board’s off-campus conduct policy states.
The goal of the policy is not to police every action that happens off campus, Josh Jacobs, chief-of-staff of presidential accounts, said. It intends to allow the University to take action against cases that influence the safety of students and the institution.
“If there was a domestic dispute at an off-campus facility and it turned into violence, that did not occur on campus, but it does pose a threat to the victim’s safety while attending classes on campus,” he said. “In that scenario there would be concern about that student and we would like the ability to protect them.”
There is perhaps some confusion regarding the intentions of the policy, Jacobs said.
“It is likely not going to affect 99 percent of students on campus,” he said. “It is those circumstances where there is a significant threat to harm the institution or students.”
The Board of Regents made recommendations to change the policy, Jeremiah Johnson, SGA president, said.
“I’m not sure how other universities handle this and I’m not sure how we are going to handle this policy yet,” Johnson said.
The new policy states if a student does something detrimental to the University name then the University can take action.
Susan Camp, graduate student from Elkton, Ky., said students should be aware of their behavior off campus and how it influences the University.
“I feel that the University has the right to expel a student because of the misrepresentation of the University within the community,” she said. “If something is considered a felony, then the University should take action.”
The University has always had a policy stating if a student commits an act off campus, they may be subject to punishment by the University through the Judicial Board, Mike Young, vice president of Student Affairs, said.
“The Judicial Board’s job is mainly to look at the evidence that is presented to them and make a reasonable decision as to what is more believable information,” he said.
If a student commits a felony or other violation and the University feels it threatens the environment on campus, the Judicial Board has the right to recommend expulsion of the student, Young said.
“All cases are handled through a process where all students have the right to expect a fair and impartial hearing,” he said.
Lyndsey Freeman, judicial board chair, said the Judicial Board has been introduced to the policy and it is just now being put into effect.
“We have special training on how to handle these issues whether it be sexual harassment or academic dishonesty,” she said.