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2007 Fall Violations

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This page contains comments posted by members of the Cornell community pertaining to 2007 Fall Violations in the current and proposed Campus Code and judicial system. Before posting to this forum, please read the comments below to make sure that the information you are providing is pertinent to the discussion and has not already been addressed before.

Community Comments

Status in current code
Listed violations.
Proposed changes
Rewords the violations, although those listed in 1.l, 3.e, and 3.f are somewhat new. (pp. 21—22)

Richard Anderson rwa5 on 24 September 2007 at 12:45

Article 2A, Section e. add “age”

Andrew Myers acm22 on 25 September 2007 at 13:47

1.l seems remarkably strong. On its face, it says that whenever I take a picture of the campus, I need to get permission of everyone in the picture, even if they are somewhere in the background. It also means that if someone commits a crime (e.g., robs me), it is a violation to take a picture of them. I think that this needs to be weakened considerably to take into account reasonable expectations of privacy.

Matthew Belmonte mkb4 on 25 September 2007 at 16:31

Title One III(b)(3) (page 11) prohibits “the occupation or disruption of… living units.” Though I can understand prohibiting disruption of living units, prohibiting their occupation seems to contradict the very purpose of a living unit. Why not simply prohibit the organised, mass occupation of living units by persons who are not ordinarily residents of the living unit(s) in question? Though this objection of mine may seem a semantic nitpick, it does seem possible to envision a circumstance in which the clause as written could be applied to evict residents from a living unit that had been involved in campus demonstrations. The involvement of the programme houses in demonstrations surrounding the issue of freshman housing choice during the 1990s is a case in point.

In Title Two II(A)(1)(b) (page 20), the committee may want explicitly to take up the issue as to just what type and extent of exposure qualifies as “lewd.” The United States harbours an unusually puritanical culture in which individuals’ interpretations of this general term may differ widely. For instance, is public breast-feeding lewd? Is nude bathing in a secluded courtyard lewd? In both instances, I don’t think so, but opinions may vary. It seems best to deal with such differing interpretations, at least in some general sense, before disagreements arise.

Title Two II(A)(1)(f) (page 21) includes in the definition of hazing any required consumption of “substances,” and does not at all limit the nature or quantity of such substances. As just one example of the overly broad nature of this restriction, one may note that by this definition a religious ceremony such as communion could be defined as hazing because it involves ritual consumption of the wafer — and the wafer, despite its small and merely symbolic quantity, is a material and substantial object, that is, it is a “substance.” (If by “substance” the committee intends “illegal drugs,” then the committee should say “illegal drugs” instead of relying on this euphemistic and denotationally inappropriate sense of the term “substance.” Compare the much more appropriate wording in Title Four (II)(A)(4) on page 42.)

Title Two II(A)(3)© (page 22) is so vague as to open individuals to frivolous, malicious, or unreasonably post hoc prosecution. What specific sorts of goods and services, and what manners of trafficking in these, are “incompatible with the interests of the University community or local community”? How is the accused supposed to know this definition in advance if it isn’t spelt out more specifically?

The prohibitions on assistance and incitement in Title Three II(A)(3)(g) and (h) (page 22) and in Title Four II(A)(1)(d) (page 41) respectively, are problematic because they can be interpreted to prohibit incitement to non-violent protest — similarly to section (3)(II)(N) of the current Campus Code of Conduct. Title Four II(B)’s affirmation of freedom of speech addresses this issue in the case of Title Four II(A)(1)(d), but does not pertain to Title Three II(A)(3)(g) and (h). Though the prohibitions on incitement and assistance certainly seem reasonable in the case of incitement to (or assistance with) physical violence, and a prohibition on assistance seems reasonable in the case of serious crime, the potential application of these prohibitions to cases of incitement to (or assistance with) civil disobedience or other forms of nonviolent protest constitutes a troubling abridgement of freedom of speech, and therefore seems inconsistent with the support for free speech expressed elsewhere in the document. This issue is not merely an abstract one: for instance, in 1986–1987 when some members of the faculty spoke in support of students’ actions in constructing and occupying a shantytown on the Arts Quad to protest the University’s continued investment in South Africa, those faculty members technically were in violation of (3)(II)(N). Title Three II(A)(3)(g) and (h) should therefore be revised so as to exclude incitement or assistance in nonviolent, non-criminal acts, and Title Four II(A)(1)(d) ought to note explicitly the exemption provided by Title Four II(B).

phb22 on 08 October 2007 at 21:32

3.II.1.l is poorly constructed, and should be revised to explicitly permit recording, videotaping, photography, and other documentation of public campus events and the public actions of university officials.

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