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Appeals, excusals among topics at this week’s SLC

By Justin Schellenberg, January 18 2018 —

The Jan. 16 meeting of the Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) included consultation on amendments to the school’s appeals structure, discussion of a proposal that would require students to make a statutory declaration rather than provide documentation when applying for excusals for medical reasons and a vote on the updated code of conduct for SLC.

The council meeting began with a presentation by vice-provost student experience Susan Barker and student appeals officer Andrea Langen on the proposed restructuring of the school’s student appeals process. In an effort to make the process more efficient and to minimize legal risk, Langen recommended removing the faculty level of the appeal. She added that policies at other Alberta universities were looked to as a basis for adjusting the appeals structure.

“[The new appeals process is] a bit fit for purpose for Calgary, but it is trying to draw on the best parts of other models that are out there,” Langen said.

The first step of an appeal would be overseen by a panel consisting of a General Faculties Council delegate, as well as the possibility of a student from the faculty. The second and final level would be run by the Board of Governors.

The meeting continued with a discussion of a proposal that would allow students who are requesting exemptions from academic requirements or exams for medical reasons to make a statutory declaration — similar to an oath — rather than obtain medical documentation.

“It’s very expensive for students, depending on how many medical notes that they need,” SU vice-president academic Tina Miller said, referring to the current process. “You have to get documentation in when you might be really, really ill.”

Under the new proposal, students would have the choice of providing medical documentation or giving a legally binding declaration to a commissioner of oaths.

“It doesn’t come with the same cost and time barriers,” Miller said.

The council was unanimous in its support for this proposal. President Branden Cave will now bring it to the next Academic Planning and Priorities Committee meeting for further review.

The new SLC code of conduct was tabled at the meeting by vice-president operations and finance Ryan Wallace. The code of conduct addresses issues such as conflict of interest, respect for Students’ Union facilities and behaviour in meetings.

“I hope that this code of conduct will definitely help [elected officials] and clarify some confusion that we’ve had in the past,” Wallace said.

The resolution passed in a unanimous vote.

During the period for executive reports, Miller said she had nothing to report. The other four executives declined to read their reports, saying they were submitted online prior to the meeting.

The next SLC meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23 in the Executive Council Chambers.

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