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Sign the Petition to

Dr. Judy Genshaft, President of USF; Michael A. Freeman, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President & Dean for Students; Winston G. Jones, Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities

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.

Signed,

Eli Jacob

This petition closed about 1 year ago

How this will help

  • It doesn't matter if you don't smoke marijuana or not, this is something that could affect you if someone disliked you enough to go through the trouble of trying to make it seem like you actually...
  • It doesn't matter if you don't smoke marijuana or not, this is something that could affect you if someone disliked you enough to go through the trouble of trying to make it seem like you actually committed a violation of the student code of conduct. Fight for your constitutionally protected right to due process, and let us reform the higher education system to be what it should be!
  • For too long,  many public universities have been able to operate on different standards of punishment than what their respective states do, even though they receive state funding and are bound to state standards about curriculum.
  • There has already been legal precedent set in Florida that states that the universities cannot define rules separate from the state constitution, as evidenced in the Florida Carry v. University of North Florida about the right for students to concealed carry in the trunk of their car.
  • From the USF student handbook: "(a) Rights of Charged Student (referred to as "student" in this subsection) 1. Provision of Proof - The provision of proof shall be the duty of the OSRR. The level of  proof for a decision shall be "preponderance of the evidence," that is, from the  evidence/information submitted it is more likely than not that the student did commit the  violation(s) for which he or she has been charged, and shall not be the strict criminal law  standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
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