2012-2013 Handbook Revisions

Hello Sisters!

As many Salem women know, last year there were changes made to the student handbook and the Honor Tradition. These changes were initiated by students who had carefully studied the handbook, researched other colleges’ handbooks, and then proposed changes they felt would benefit the entire student body. By extension, we, the student body, made the changes. This was the first time students were invited to sit on an ad hoc committee to modify the handbook. These eight students sat alongside administration and faculty and openly discussed student concerns regarding the handbook as well as solutions to their grievances. Congratulations!

Before discussing any policy, we feel that it is imperative for you to know that you, the student, has rights! (Yes, you do!) Please read them on page 20 under Section IX., Rights of an Accused Student. We especially want you to be aware that you are entitled to have an advisor present throughout the judicial process. This full-time faculty member can be a source of support for you, but he or she cannot testify on your behalf.

In case you aren’t aware, there are three bodies that conduct hearings at Salem College:

1. The Honor Council, which investigates Honor Code infractions related to academic work and exams.

2. The Judicial Council, which handles infractions of College and ResLife policies.

3. College Administration, which reserves the right to conduct administrative hearings of more serious policy infractions of an urgent or sensitive nature.*

* This statement is new to the 2012-2013 handbook.

The rights outlined on page 20 apply to hearings conducted by all three bodies. Know your rights, women!

The new edition of the student handbook now outlines the process of Administrative hearings, not just Honor and Judicial (although you will note that the process is very similar to Honor Council hearings). Thus, if any student is ever curious or has been called to an Administrative hearing, you will have a general understanding of what to expect. This can be found on page 21 under Section XII.

One major breakthrough change for the handbook is a more detailed outline of the room search policy. Students evaluated the language in our room search policy last year, researched other room search policies, and although we did not make all of the changes we wished, we now have a more detailed room search policy. For instance, if you look at the 2011-2012 handbook, you might notice on page 56 under Section XVIII how small the paragraph is on Residence Hall/Room Searches. Now, on pages 56 and 57 of our current handbook, the 2012- 2013 edition, the policy details not only when a room search may be conducted, but the exact procedure that a room search follows.

As many of you know, Public Safety reserves the right to conduct a search of residence halls if an intruder is suspected to be present. Also, if a guest is in a residence hall after hours, Public Safety may also conduct a search for the guest. However, as it says in section C of this policy, once the intruder/guest is found, the search will terminate. So, get your guests out on time and never let guests wander unattended. We applaud our fellow students who did this research and have made a difference in the growth of this policy.

Please note that if you suspect that a room search has been conducted illegally (that is, against the policy on pages 56 and 57), you may consult with Anna Gallimore on the matter.

Another student-led change that occurred last spring was our visitation policy, outlined on page 59 in your handbook under Section XXVII. Previously, the only residence hall with 24-hour visitation was Strong Honors House. Now, all upperclass residence halls (excluding only Gramley and Babcock) have 24-hour visitation. Let us explain what that means. You may have a guest overnight in the residence halls overnight for three nights within a seven day period. So you’ve had your guest over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Since Sunday starts a new week, you can have your guest over an additional three nights, right? Wrong. The policy differentiates between a seven day period and a week. In any given seven day period, your guest is not allowed overnight more than three nights. This is not only a violation of the Honor Code, but could also make your sisters and fellow dorm-mates very annoyed with you. If your visitor is male, he may also be annoyed when he has to sleep alone in the depths of Male Jail (p. 56; sec. XIV: Male Housing).

First-year residence halls Babcock and Gramley have 24-hour visitation on Friday and Saturday nights only. Also, please remember to register all guests on campus.

In coordination with federal regulations, Title IX has been added to the handbook on page 46. If you have any questions pertaining to Title IX or information pertinent to maintaining these guidelines, please contact Anna Gallimore. Her information is listed in this section of the handbook.

The Honor Tradition section, starting on page 18 of your handbook, now includes new items related your responsibility to Salem’s community of honor, as well as the privileges that come with being part of this community. Specifically, Clause 3 of the Honor Code has been changed to reflect our duty to “show respect for faculty, staff, my peers, classmates and members of the administration by maintaining civility and refraining from disruptive and abusive language and behavior” (changes in italics). This revision is not meant to scare you into believing that you will be brought up on violation for coming into conflict with your peers, but simply meant to be a reminder to be civil in all your actions, be they in the virtual world or the real world.

To further emphasize the privileges afforded us, Section III of the Honor Tradition now includes an explicit mention that we are privileged to “an environment and culture of respect and integrity.” Each of us is here at Salem for different reasons, but one thing that we all love is the open-mindedness we’ve found here. Open-mindedness includes not being prejudiced, or participating in libel or slander of your sisters. This revision is meant to remind you of this fact in the event that you find yourself at odds with a Salem sister, calling each other names is not acceptable. Sometimes, there is value in agreeing to disagree.

The most unique privilege that the Honor Code grants Salem students is the ability to schedule our own exams. It is important that we realize that this truly is a privilege, not a right. As final exams are approaching it is important to note the new procedures outlined to deal with Honor Code Violations during self-schedule exams, also on page 18, under Section IV. This is a new policy, so go read it, sisters!

Essentially, Section IV says that if you see someone cheating during finals, tell an Exam Co-Chair (Lauren Poole or Cassie Hardy). Cheating can be defined as sharing information and/or answers with another student, bringing notes to the exam session, or using unauthorized sources in an open-book exam. Possession of a cell phone while taking an exam will be treated as if the student was blatantly cheating. Leave it in your mailbox before you go into Bryant Hall! If there is reasonable doubt that cheating is happening, the co-chair will document the incident, but the student will be allowed to finish her exam. If cheating is blatantly obvious, the exam will be confiscated and documentation will ensue, with the professor being notified of the incident. The normal procedure for handling Honor Code Violations will then take effect.

With our new policy changes, we also made advances in sanctions as well. These are outlined under Sections XIII and XIV, beginning on page 22. The major addition to sanctioning is the added provision that the student’s privilege of self-scheduled exams may be taken away at the probation and suspension-held-in-abeyance levels. Students who lose this privilege are to contact the Dean of Students or the Dean of the College to make arrangements to take exams in either office with a proctor present. This applies to exams given in either Bryant Hall or Gramley Library spaces.

Again, we want to thank the students, faculty, and administration who met, discussed, and ultimately changed the policy. We are so proud of all of our sisters and hope that these changes have inspired you to do great things. Thank you for abiding true to the Honor Code and we hope we don’t see you soon before either council. If you have any questions or concerns about the student handbook or the Honor Tradition please contact us, your class honor and judicial council representatives, or the council chairs.

Don’t cheat.

Don’t drink alcohol underage.


Earnestly in Sisterhood,

Layne Poplin, Honor Council Secretary

April Eaker, Judicial Council Secretary

One thought on “2012-2013 Handbook Revisions

  1. Leslie Rogers

    This is fantastic and informative! Thank you Layne & April for helping to educate your peers and to acknowledge the positive changes that were made this year!


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