I have drafted this petition in response to a friend's current predicament with her university. Out of respect to university disciplinary proceedings and the student who is being affected, I will be omitting her name.
She was in her apartment suite with her roommates, and her roommates believed that they smelt the odor of marijuana emanating from her room. Her roommates then proceeded to complain to the RA about the smell, and the RA contacted the campus PD. Campus PD came and searched her room, and even though they didn't find anything and recommended that nothing be done, the university still went ahead and started the initial review process.
After hearing this, I went ahead and did some research of my own on USF's code of conduct, and found out something unsettling: the university does not need to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt to charge a student with an offense of the student code of conduct. This is troubling, especially with the kind of case that we have here, as cases like these can often end in suspension or expulsion.
What I ask for is this: In cases in which the student is at risk of having their educational life/liberty affected by risk of suspension or expulsion from university property or the university itself, the level of proof needed should be proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
While I respect the sovereignty of the university to govern the student body, I also feel that having the proof needed to charge a student be at a preponderance of the evidence, rather than proof beyond a reasonable doubt is harmful, and detracts from the fundamental fairness that all USF students should have; especially in cases like these.