A committee of students, faculty and staff formed by Dean of Undergraduate Education Steve Nowicki will appraise the University's judicial policies and produce recommendations by the end of Spring.
The committee was created in response to concerns about the state of judicial affairs raised by Duke Student Government President Paul Slattery, Nowicki said.
In a memo to administrators and the Board of Trustees sent in September, Slattery, a senior, argued that current policy infringes on a number of students' rights, including the right to remain silent, call or cross-examine witnesses and request a hearing panel.
"I am asking this task force to review Duke's current policies and practices in the arena of undergraduate judicial affairs, to benchmark Duke's policies and practices against peer institutions and to recommend any changes in policy or practice as seem appropriate based on this analysis," Nowicki wrote in a charge to committee members.
Noah Pickus, director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, will chair the task force, which was formed as a temporary addition to the Academic Integrity Council.
The task force will meet two or three times before Winter Break beginning next week to "set the parameters and begin the research that's necessary," Pickus said. Starting in January, the committee will meet on a tentative schedule of three six-week periods until the end of the semester that will correspond with three phases of the review process, he added.
In the first phase, the "discovery" phase, the task force will study the University's judiciary policies and practices and compare them to those of peer institutions, Nowicki wrote in the charge. In the "community input" phase, the committee will seek views from undergraduates and faculty on judicial affairs. In the final "analysis" phase, committee members will present concrete recommendations to alter or maintain the current judicial process.
Pickus said the committee will examine the rationales behind current policies in addition to their effects in practice.
"We want to make sure we have a sensible discussion about [judicial affairs] paired with data and information about policies and practices both at Duke and as compared to other institutions," he said.
Slattery said the task force is "more than I could possibly ask for," adding that he hopes it will suggest specific changes to judicial affairs.
"I think this process will be very useful provided it leads to concrete textual recommendations about policy," he said.
The committee also consists of faculty members Suzanne Shanahan, associate director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics; Todd Adams, assistant dean of students for fraternity and sorority life; Thomas Nechyba, chair of the Department of Economics; Peter Feaver, professor of political science; Professor of Law James Coleman; Greg Dale, a sports psychologist and associate professor of health, physical education and recreation; Norman Keul, associate dean of Trinity College; Craig Henriquez, associate professor of computer science; Deputy General Counsel Kate Hendricks; and Donna Lisker, associate dean of undergraduate education.
Student representatives on the committee are senior Gina Ireland, DSG vice president for academic affairs; sophomore Lucy McKinstry, DSG vice president for student affairs; Honor Council Chair Bronwyn Lewis, a senior and Undergraduate Judicial Board member; Trinity senior Snapper Underwood; and Matt Dekow, a senior in the Pratt School of Engineering.
Nowicki said he was pleased with the diversity of the committee members, adding that he is confident of their ability to assess judicial affairs.
"I look forward to this being a very balanced discussion," Nowicki said in an interview. "I also have... asked the committee to make this as transparent and open a process as possible."
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