Community Standards Update Prioritizes Safety and Clarity

Owen Ruggiero | The PHOENIXThe updated “Good Samaritan” policy protects the student receiving medical attention and the assisting student from disciplinary actions from the university.

Loyola updated the Community Standards for the 2016-17 school year to include general clarifications, a new definition for incapacitation and an update to the Good Samaritan policy.

The Community Standards are Loyola’s code of conduct and outline the expectations the university has of its students.

This year’s changes include structural modifications that are intended to make the standards more easily understood by students, according to Jessica Landis, the coordinator of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR).

For example, the definition of harassment has been added to cover “intentional, aggressive, and unwelcome behavior towards another that is severe or repeated and that has the purpose or effect of seriously interfering with a reasonable person’s physical health, mental health, or ability to benefit from the University’s programs and services.”

Also included in the updated standards is a new definition for incapacitation. Incapacitation is now defined as “a state in which an individual cannot understand the nature of an act … to the extent that they do not have command over their own decisions.”

A clarifying note has been added to the end of the definition, stating that it is sexual misconduct to engage in sexual activity “with a person who you know or reasonably should know is incapacitated.”

“Your own intoxication isn’t an excuse,” Landis said, explaining this section of the Community Standards.

The new version of the standards also expands the Good Samaritan policy.

In the previous version of the policy, in situations involving alcohol, drugs or sexual misconduct, students who seek medical attention for another student in danger are not subject to university disciplinary actions. The student who is helping another person is the “Good Samaritan.”

In the new updates, the Good Samaritan policy has been expanded to include the person who receives medical attention. Now, neither party involved will receive sanctions or disciplinary actions from Loyola.

“We want to eliminate barriers for people doing what’s right,” said Tim Love, associate dean of students.

These efforts to encourage responsible and positive actions from students are not going unnoticed.

“I think [this update] would make people want to help more,” said Murillo Goncalves, 21.

Although the senior film and media production major expressed mild concern that some students might take advantage of the policy, he said he thinks the change will make people more likely to help people in danger.

The Community Standards are designed both to be accessible to students and to reflect student input, which is collected throughout the year, according to Love.

“[The standards] paint a picture of a civil community where we respect one another and respect the law,” said Love.

Love acknowledged, however, that the university has goals for students that far exceed the standards. The standards are simply the “minimum expectation” for student conduct.

Although the standards have been updated to be more straightforward, some think that a separate issue needs to be addressed: student exposure to the standards.

“I think the changes won’t matter because very few people actually read [the Community Standards],” said Conrad Kurokowski, 18.

The first-year student said he believes that the university should introduce students to the standards through programs similar to Haven and AlcoholEDU, which are online courses that Loyola requires students to complete before their first year at the university.

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