Tom Hardiman, assistant director of the Office of Student Conduct, said the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education recently informed UNC that if certain portions of the instrument were kept unconstitutional, it would sue the university.
“FIRE is a group that goes out and advocates for first amendment rights specifically for students on college campuses,” said Hardiman. “Here we are now, this is our last little piece, in regards to FIRE they are ready to green light us. This is the last piece that’s hanging on until we get their endorsement that we’re protecting our students’ rights.”
The most controversial amendment aimed to get rid of a provision of the instrument that had been used to charge a victim of a widely publicized sexual assault in 2013 for intimidating behavior against her attacker.
The 2013 case was the first time the provision had been implemented. Due to its unconstitutional use, former Chancellor Holden Thorp rendered it an unchargeable offense in July 2013. Since then, Undergraduate Attorney General Raquel Dominguez said the provision has been included in the instrument with a note that explained it was not active.
Dominguez said getting rid of the outdated policy makes room for a constitutional policy to be put in its place relatively soon, perhaps next spring.
“I don’t think it’ll be a few years, but I do think it’ll take more than a week, more than a month, more than two months,” she said. “They need to be able to pull in all the experts. You have Title IX, university legal counsel, experts on the constitution from the law school, administrators, students who have a vested interest in protecting other students from these types of behaviors.”
Another amendment creates a charge for students who posses, manufacture, sell or deliver a controlled substance as defined by the state or Board of Governors, according to section five of the student conduct proposal.
Dominguez said not having a charge for students who possess inordinately large amounts of drugs goes against Board of Governors policy.