posted on Sept. 21: Student transcripts will note suspension and expulsion for non-academic conduct


Like it or not, students who are suspended or expelled for non-academic conduct which violates the Student Code of Conduct will have a notation entered on their academic transcript.

Senate approved the proposed revision to the Student Code of Conduct last week.

The subject was one of four issues that were discussed by members of Senate before the entire body voted to approve to the revised document.

An amendment proposed by the MSU that would have seen such a transcript notation removed from a student's academic record failed.

In presenting the amendment, MSU president Marc Marzotto argued that including the notation was punitive and unjustified. The reason for the suspension/expulsion cannot be disclosed by the University to other institutions; the University wants it (the notation) for purely punitive reasons, said Marzotto.

Marzotto said that to his knowledge, and from the MSU's research, McMaster would be one of the only universities in Canada to have this (kind of) notation on transcripts.

Associate vice-president student affairs Mary Keyes countered that she had also surveyed practices at other universities and had learned that including suspended/expelled and required to withdraw notations on transcripts were the accepted practice at many universities in Canada.

University registrar George Granger commented that the precedent exists in case law that gives universities the right to refuse admission to someone that the institution believes would be unwelcome on campus. He also said that while McMaster administrators couldn't divulge the reason for suspension or expulsion (of a student) to another institution, that institution would be within its right to seek an explanation for the transcript notation from the student him or her self.

While most Senators seemed in favour of including the notation on transcripts, a few remarked that they were uncomfortable with approving the revised document because students who commit offences off campus would not be subject to the notation.

Keyes told Senators that it's an incredibly complicated issue and long before this extreme action would be taken, there's a lot of things that go on. In fact, in the last four years only one person has been recommended to be expelled, says Keyes. Approximately 100 cases are handled under the Student Code of Conduct annually.

Three other amendments to the proposed revisions to the Student Code, all presented by the McMaster Students Union, were passed. One related to students' right to conduct sit-ins and peaceful protests. Students have the right to peaceful assembly under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to not be charged, said Marzotto.

Another included the elimination of the third obsene from the clause No person shall make obscene or harassing telephone calls, send obscene or harassing letters or electronic mail or use any medium to communicate in an obscene or harassing manner. MSU officials argued that rights of free speech and free press would be violated if the clause was not amended.