Last Wednesday, College Council (CC) passed an amendment granting new authority to the Student Organizations Sanctions Committee (SOSC).
SOSC is a committee that exists to discipline student organizations that violate College policies, particularly those around hazing. It is composed of a representative from the Office of Student Life, the College Council Vice President for Student Organizations, who chairs the Committee, two other members of CC and two students at-large.
“The committee is comprised of both students and staff to ensure consistency of membership from year to year. The composition also helps to ensure that decisions made in one academic year are still carried out in the next,” Assistant Director for Student Involvement-Student Organizations, Benjamin Lamb said. “We believe that we will have more success in addressing the potential for hazing activities by working directly with student organizations.”
SOSC was conceived of and implemented by last semester’s CC and the Dean’s Office. Discipline of individual student behavior is reserved for the Dean’s Office.
SOSC had its first case before spring break, after Campus Safety & Security interrupted a party. The individual who took responsibility, as well as most of the people at the event, were part of the same student group. The report was shared with the Dean’s office and sent to SOSC for review.
SOSC then proceeded to meet with the leadership of the group to hear their input on the situation. After reviewing their statement and discussing their case, SOSC decided that the
party did not constitute an organization-based sanction: SOSC believed it was a party hosted by an individual, not by the group and dismissed the case.
According to Griffith Simon ’15, “Per the guidelines of SOSC for dismissal of cases, neither the name of the organization nor the name of the individuals responsible were released to the public.”
According to changes to Article VII, Section 3,d of CC bylaws, the SOSC will now have the authority to dismiss cases, should it find the student organization not guilty. Previously, SOSC could only recommend dismissal to CC, in which case the group in question would have had to go before CC as well as SOSC. Now, in the case of dismissal, the investigation will not appear before CC and the student group in question. The involved individuals will remain anonymous.
According to changes to Article VII, Section 3,e, Subsection 1, SOSC may now issue a formal warning to student organizations that it finds guilty of violating the stipulations listed in the Williams Student Handbook or the CC Constitution, bylaws and resolutions. It is less severe for a student group to get a warning than it is for a student group to have to appear in front of CC for a hearing. Previously, a Council vote was required to issue a formal warning. The organization and the involved members who receive a formal warning will now remain anonymous. There are no punitive consequences associated with a formal warning, but the group in question may be asked to attend an education workshop on hazing. Those who receive formal warnings may directly appeal the decision to CC under the new amendment. Censures, the removal of organizations from the allocation process and suspensions and revocations of charters remain subject to a Council vote.