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Julie Beauchamp named ‘most unjust’ U of O administrator by Student Appeal Centre

Illustration by Tina Wallace 

The Student Appeal Centre (SAC) has awarded its third Iron Fist Award to Julie Beauchamp, vice-dean of undergraduate and professional programs at the Telfer School of Management, for allegedly academically penalizing students for non-academic infractions.

According to the SAC, Beauchamp suspended two students on the grounds of having violated the Telfer Code of Conduct due to an incident between the students and Protection Services. Details of the incident were unavailable, but Beauchamp was reported to have said at the students’ disciplinary hearing that it was a “grave violation” of the code of conduct.

The Iron Fist Award is given each year to the U of O administrator deemed by the SAC to be “the most unjust.” Beauchamp was given the award for “ruthlessness, contempt for student rights, and overall lack of fairness in decision making,” according to the SAC website.

“We put a lot of thought into who deserves the award,” said Mireille Gervais, director of the SAC. “At the Student Appeal Centre, we have discussions and every case worker brings to me situations that are particularly worrying.”

According to the SAC, Beauchamp received the award for the events following an incident that occurred on the last Friday of 101 Week, during which two students were summoned to meet with her after security reports were filed by Protection Services.

The students reached out to the SAC to represent them at a disciplinary hearing with Beauchamp on Oct. 7. According to Gervais, the students hadn’t been told their infraction or given any sort of documentation or a copy of the security reports before the meeting, despite numerous requests.

“Anybody who would be subject to disciplinary measures is 100 per cent entitled to see the evidence that is being held against them,” she said.

In an email correspondence between Beauchamp, the students, and Alex Nanoff, a student appeal officer, Beauchamp wrote that she did “not have the protection reports” three hours before the meeting took place.

The SAC said the meeting went forth without the students receiving these documents.

“Following these meetings … Telfer School of Management imposed numerous disciplinary sanctions, going as far as suspension from school for one year,” the SAC wrote in a statement announcing the Iron Fist recipient.

Beauchamp was unable to comment.

The university released the following statement with regards to the incident.

“The Telfer School of Management is dedicated to its students’ success. It makes sure that all action taken concerning disciplinary matters is fair, equitable, and in keeping with the principles of natural justice. As student files are confidential, neither the school nor the university will be issuing a comment.”

Both students involved in the incident declined an interview and accepted the sanctions from Telfer.

Telfer uses a non-academic code called “The Standard of Conduct.” Chris Hynes, vp university affairs for the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), called it “completely unacceptable” to use this code to apply academic sanctions for personal circumstances of misconduct outside the classroom.

“Not only are students at risk of facing punishment or sanctions multiple times with a code, but the university simply has no jurisdiction over the personal lives of its students,” he said.

Hynes said the SFUO is against the creation of non-academic codes of conduct on campus and is working to end all such codes on campus.

Currently, the U of O only has an academic code of conduct in place. In 2008, the university proposed a non-academic code of conduct. More than 500 students protested in a demonstration on campus on April 25, 2008. The proposal was eventually withdrawn in August 2008, as it was unpopular among students.

“The bottom line is that students come to the university to get an education, not for behaviour control,” Gervais said.