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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 9 | July 4, 2002

Bomb Threat Brings Two-Year Suspension

Addressing misconduct is part of teaching process and a commitment to campus community.

By Hilary Thomson

Soon after Sept. 11 last year, a student called in a bomb threat to disrupt an exam in the Henry Angus Bldg.

The building was evacuated, RCMP bomb squad and dogs were called in and students who had prepared for the exam had to reorganize their schedules to accommodate a postponement.

The call, made to 911, had been recorded and was played back to the students scheduled for the exam. They recognized the voice, which led to the culprit being suspended from UBC for two years.

"Students work hard to prepare for an exam and postponement can cause significant inconvenience. They don't support this type of behaviour," says University Counsel Hubert Lai.

"The campus community needs to know that we treat student infractions seriously," he says. "Often the incidents are disruptive and costly -- our aim is to be fair, thorough and expeditious in resolving them."

Both academic and non-academic discipline incidents have inexplicably increased -- more than doubling in four years. In the 1998/99 academic year there were 27 student discipline cases and last year there were 58. The nature of the cases does not vary significantly, however, with more than three-quarters of cases involving academic discipline.

Non-academic discipline cases include property theft or damage, assaults and harassment and usually are reported by UBC Campus Security or the local RCMP detachment.

Academic discipline cases often involve plagiarism, much of it from Internet sources. TurnItIn.com, a U.S.-based Web site, is a resource available to any faculty member wishing to check the originality of a student paper.

Cheating on exams or finding ways to avoid exams also brings academic discipline, says Lai. Stress is the common thread that connects incidents.

"Some students feel an extreme pressure to perform which leads them to take a chance out of desperation."

Alleged incidents are reported to the department head and dean. Cases are forwarded to the President's Committee on Student Discipline, which meets with the student to gather and hear evidence and forwards recommendations to the president.

The six-person committee is drawn from a pool of 10 individuals comprising faculty and students that is being expanded this year to deal with the increased number of cases.

Each case is weighed on its own merits and factors such as prompt confession and remorse are considered. President Martha Piper has sole authority for issuing discipline and penalties can range from reprimand to expulsion. A student may appeal the decision to a committee of Senate whose decision is final.

"The student discipline process is meant to be a part of the education process," Lai says. "It's one of the ways we can teach students about what happens in the world."

more information

More information on student discipline can be found at www.policy.ubc.ca/policy69.htm.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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