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The Daily Tar Heel

DWIs May Spell Code Violations

Students caught on campus driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could be charged in Honor Court.

Aaron Hiller, student body vice president, has drafted an amendment to the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance that would add "driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs on University premises" as a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Because the Student Code does not address driving under the influence, no Honor Court violations can be brought against students who are caught.

The bill was approved both by the Committee on Student Conduct and by Student Congress' Rules and Judiciary Committee on Tuesday evening.

An amendment to the instrument must also be approved by full Student Congress, the Faculty Council and Chancellor James Moeser to go into effect, said Blair Sweeney, chairman of the Rules and Judiciary Committee.

"Honestly, DUIs are on the rise," said Melinda Manning, judicial programs officer for the graduate student attorney general, at the Committee on Student Conduct meeting.

Hiller said the number of students who drive under the influence is increasing each year. "It is a dangerous and inappropriate behavior," he said. "The resolution gives the Honor Court the mechanism to target this specific behavior."

David Gilbert, judicial programs officer and assistant dean of students, said University police arrested three students on campus for driving under the influence last semester. Honor Court charges would only be brought against students caught on roads considered part of campus.

Another amendment to the Code of Student Conduct also was passed by the two committees Tuesday. The bill would change the clause that lists weapons not allowed on campus. The code specifically includes uncommon weapons, including bowie knives, daggers, leaded canes and metallic knuckles.

Instead of citing specific items, the new version would describe a violation as "Possession, use, threatened use, or manufacture of firearms, ammunition, dangerous materials (including but not limited to biological and chemical agents) or other weapons on institutional premises."

Committee members said the policy needs to be less specific so it won't have to be reworked frequently.

"We need a weapons policy that is up-to-date," Hiller said.

Because there is only one session of Congress left this year, Hiller said the amendments might not get final approval to be enacted for next year.

A final bill awaiting approval from the Faculty Council and the chancellor could change the way amendments are enacted. Amendments could move from the Committee on Student Conduct to the chancellor, bypassing Student Congress and speeding up the process.

"We could change (the instrument) in a month or two as opposed to a year or two now," Hiller said.

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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