Off-campus jurisdiction good for student safety

The recent branding incident involving Kappa Sigma members highlights an important issue beyond the obvious question of why anybody would do that. The incident has also led to discussion about whether the university has, or should have, the right to investigate situations like this that occur among its students while they are off campus.

The answer to whether or not the university has the right to exercise in loco parentis authority is actually very straightforward.

According to the university Code of Student Conduct, the university maintains the right to take disciplinary action against “conduct which occurs on University premises and off-campus conduct which adversely affects the university community and/or the pursuit of its objectives.”

The university clearly maintains jurisdiction off campus, and the fact is that all students tacitly agree to abide by the university’s rules set forth in the Student Handbook simply by enrolling at the university.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the university’s current policy on this, students, their parents and other members of the campus community should at least be grateful that the university considers it important to hold its students to certain moral, ethical and legal standards. After all, students who exercise poor judgment or commit illegal acts off campus may use similar judgment in the future, and they might do so on campus where it could affect other students and members of the campus community.

Managing editor Logan Wilson for the editorial board.