This year, Student Life updated its code of conduct and implemented a points system in residences that replaced the previous fine system. Under the new rules, students begin the school year with a clean slate and can receive points for violating different residence rules.
If a student has a glass bottle or receives a noise complaint, they are subject to one to two points, whereas for more serious offences, such as stealing or sexual harassment, they can receive up to three. The code of conduct states that upon receiving six or more points, “students may be banned from all Mount Allison University residences.”
Adam Christie, acting director of Student Life, said that this new system is meant to improve upon the shortcomings of the fine system.
Christie explained that in previous years, residence assistants (RAs) were responsible for the distribution of fines. This year, RAs have to issue an incident report and submit it to their don, who then hands out points at their discretion.
The fine system was based on monetary penalty, which caused some students to take it less seriously than others, depending on their income bracket. “Points is a neutral economy, and no one has any more points than anyone else,” Christie said. He expects the points system to be easier to enforce and thinks it will allow for more consistency across residences.
Windsor’s assistant don, Emily Baker, agreed that the old system was in need of an update.
“I’ve been in residence for four years, so I’ve been in the fine system for three of the years, and it just didn’t work,” she said.
Although Baker views the points system as an improvement, she feels that there are issues with the possible suspension from residence.
Baker said that it is unrealistic to try to enforce the suspension rule, partly because students have all of their belongings in the building and have other ways to get inside, such as friends with keys.
“It can work in theory…but it is really going to take a couple more years of ironing it out,” Baker said.
Christie explained that the points system was borrowed from other universities, such as Brock University. However, Christie recognizes that suspended Brock students have more options than suspended Mt. A students living in residence. He said that “[Student Life] is trying to be sensitive about that” and that the Student Life manager would “take all things into consideration” before suspending a student.
Christie made it clear, however, that “there are consequences to behaviour” and listed alternatives to residence, such as Airbnb. He also emphasized that the new system is not based on enforcement, but rather responsibility. He said that suspension from residence is a last resort and that other precautions should be taken before a student reaches six points. The code of conduct states that after receiving two to three points, the student must meet with their residence’s don. After four to six points, they are required to meet with the Student Life manager.
“The idea behind this is not to be punitive,” Christie said. “[We’re] really trying to build up that notion of what it means to live together in a community.”
“It’s a new document,” Christie said. “We have a one-year review built into the document – we are going to learn as we go.”