The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Page  1828

MEN'S STUDENT SELF-GOVERNMENT

UNTIL the turn of the century, when the student population remained below five thousand, minor disciplinary cases involving individual students were handled most informally by the academic deans or by individual faculty members. Monetary fines apparently were unheard of; "warning" and "probation" for misconduct were administered in a paternalistic manner and were not even entered on a record card. Serious cases involving suspension or expulsion were adjudicated by the various faculties acting as a whole. In the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, for example, this practice continued until 1912, with the president of the University presiding over each faculty meeting. Appeals in cases of suspension occasionally were presented to the Regents, but the Regents consistently sustained the faculty action. In the 1892 Proceedings it was stated: "This Board desires to be explicitly understood as recognizing the authority of the Faculty of any Department in the University to expel and exclude students of that Department from the University Buildings and Grounds" (R.P., 1891-96, p. 16). Until 1912 each faculty looked after its own students, and students on a combined curriculum presented a problem, causing the Regents to pass the first bylaw initiating a judicial structure: "Resolved, That the discipline of students on combined courses shall be administered by a Board consisting of the President and Deans of the Departments in which students in question are registered" (R.P., 1910-14, p. 579).

Dr. Eliza M. Mosher was appointed Professor of Hygiene and Women's Dean in the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts in 1896. As Dean of Women she was assigned the same duties in relation to the women in the Literary Department as the dean discharged in relation to all the students of that Department. Women in attendance at the University were classified as follows: Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts, 513; Department of Medicine, 68; Department of Law, 5; School of Pharmacy, 6; Homeopathic Medical College, 3; and College of Dental Surgery, 6. Women enrolled in colleges other than Literature, Science, and the Arts remained under the jurisdiction of the academic deans until 1923, when the jurisdiction of the dean of women was broadened to include all women enrolled in the University. This ruling apparently was an attempt to catch up with fact, for Dean Jordan's achievements from 1902 until 1922 are ample evidence that she was Dean of Women and not just Dean within the Literary College.

In order to meet an emergency, the University Senate, in 1902, created a committee which eventually became the Committee on Student Affairs; this name was officially adopted in 1914. In 1898 it was necessary for the Regents to define stringent regulations for the financial operation of the Students' Lecture Association. Two students were expelled for mishandling the funds of the association in 1902, one by the Law School and the other by the Literary College. Their appeal to the Regents for reinstatement was denied. In that same year the University Senate resolved, "That a committee of five members of the University faculties be established, whose duty it shall be to have general supervision of the affairs of the Students' Lecture Association, the Good Government Club, and other organizations and boards of students, excepting athletic organizations" ("Minutes of the University Senate," May 26, 1902).

The members of this committee, then Page  1829called the "Committee on Students' Organizations Other Than Athletic," were appointed by the president and met for the first time on June 12, 1902. Their first official act was disciplinary, recommending to the faculty of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts the withholding of a degree from a student "guilty of irregularities in connection with the affairs of the Students' Lecture Association." The Literary faculty adopted the recommendation (R.P., June, 1922).

Until the creation of the University Committee on Discipline twenty years later, and for some time thereafter, the Committee on Student Affairs acted as a disciplinary agent for students of the nonathletic organizations, assuming authority over cases involving eligibility, intoxication, and the like. It confined its jurisdiction to violations of University regulations within an organization. It was not a disciplinary committee except for group violations; therefore it was careful to observe faculty authority. For example, this same committee, in 1915, established rules on eligibility and then stated that cases of violation of these rules would be reported to the college concerned for discipline. On November 2, 1923, it recommended that disciplinary action for individual students be referred to the appropriate faculties.

In the period preceding the establishment of a University committee on discipline (1922), two student bodies within the University created their own disciplinary structure. In 1914-15 the Women's League, then operating from Barbour Gymnasium, set up a judiciary system to take care of infractions of regulations in the various women's organizations (see Part IX: Women's Student Self-Government).

The Honor System, adopted by the students in the College of Engineering in 1916 (see Part VII: College of Engineering, pp. 1173, 1178-80), concerned itself solely with the cardinal principle "that it is dishonorable for any man to receive credit for work which is not the result of his own efforts." This system derives its authority from the students in the College of Engineering, with the approval of the faculty of that College, and has operated successfully for more than forty years.

World War I interrupted the growth of judiciaries, and in the aftermath of that war came an increased enrollment and the genesis of a complex administrative structure. Certain generalities can be made about the pre-World War I disciplinary structure. It was, except for organizations, primarily in the hands of the various faculties. No sharp line of demarcation existed between administration and faculty. What is now viewed as the "Administration" was apparently at that time the Regents, whose closeness to the University and to student affairs allowed them to legislate on such matters as bonfires on the campus, bicycles on the diagonal, the granting of loans to individual students, and whether or not the Law School could or could not put up twenty-five dollars worth of shelving.

After World War I all was changed. In 1921 the Regents established the Office of Student Affairs, which became the "catch-all' for nonacademic or extracurricular activities. This marked, so it would seem, the dichotomy between faculty and administration. The president, the Regents, and the faculty began to take a less active role, and authority gradually came to rest in committees, administrators, and students. What had formerly been the responsibility of all members of the faculty, in time became the concern of the few who served on the University Committee on Discipline, which was established by the University Senate in 1922 and adopted by the Regents in the same year, to complement Page  1830the Committee on Student Affairs (amended May 24, 1923; March 27, and May 29, 1934). From the viewpoint of structure the result appeared to be two disciplinary authorities instead of one. Where the faculties alone had held the authority, a University Committee was created which could exercise control over all cases involving students from more than one school or college of the University. This reflected the 1912 legislation of the Regents. The committee could also act in other cases referred to it. The faculties retained complete jurisdiction in cases of discipline which involved only their own students, and the Senate suggested that any faculty as a general policy might refer all cases of discipline of its own students at the discretion of the dean, to the University Committee on Discipline. There is no record, however, that this was ever formally voted upon.

In the same year, 1922, Dean Cabot of the Medical School called attention to the student nurses who were not at that time under the supervision of the Dean of Women, whereupon the Deans' Conference ("Minutes," June 6, 1923) voted that "women in the Nurses' Training Schools and Dental Hygienists be considered subject to the same disciplinary regulations as women students in all other parts of the University."

Central though the Office of Student Affairs became in the disciplinary machinery of the University, it had no special authority from the University Council or the Regents. The general bylaw outlining the authority of the dean of women applied to the dean of students with one added authority: to act in cases involving a violation of the driving regulation. This was originally delegated to that office by the Conference of Deans. That the Office of Student Affairs gained more and more the nature of a disciplinary agency came not through legislation but by default and, of course, an ever-increasing student enrollment. It was assumed at a meeting of the Deans' Conference in February, 1921, that "the disciplinary work of the Dean of Students would presumably deal only with offences which were obvious infractions of ordinary rules of good behavior." It was believed that after reasonable publicity, any infraction of the rules would find the student body on the side of the authorities and would in short time develop general understanding of the policy of the dean of students as the representative of the faculty.

The reason for the pivotal position which the dean of students came to hold may be seen in two statements issued ten years apart. In a letter written by Professor John B. Waite to President Burton on May 20, 1923, he stated:

Before the Committee [on Discipline] can impose punishment or take other action it must have data on which to act. But there is at present no fact gathering agency in the University organization… Somebody could; but who? Dean Bursley will not do it, nor his assistants. I doubt if you or the Regents would approve (even if we were willing) of members of the Committee spending their time ambushing bootleggers and raiding students' parties. Yet, if the Committee is to discipline those students, somebody must get the facts. It has been demonstrated beyond question that this man's fellow students will not give any information against him. The facts won't jump out, they must be pulled out. Even members of the faculty declined to give information before the committee in its investigation of the swing-out drunkenness.


("Minutes of Committee on Student Conduct.")
In a report, concerning the Committee on Discipline, presented by Major Basil D. Edwards to the University Council in 1932, he said:

It is contemplated that the Dean of Students will be an important factor in the operations of the Committee. His assistance has been indispensable. He has called the meetings of the Committee and largely handled Page  1831the presentation of the cases, all of which have been previously investigated by him. His familiarity with disciplinary action taken in the various colleges in other cases has made him a valuable advisor. His knowledge of the rules of the University has been indispensable because, otherwise, the members of the Committee would frequently have been unable to inform themselves of the rules.


("Minutes of Committee on Student Conduct.")
Not only had the dean of students become a fact-gatherer, but in ten years the entire machinery was channeled through his office.

From 1906 to 1922 the Student Council appears to have played a passive role in disciplinary matters. In 1916 the president of the Student Council and the president of the Women's League were invited to attend, without vote, the meetings of the Committee on Student Affairs. Both the League and the Student Council had had in the prewar period a recommending position. No record exists of any direct disciplinary action taken by either student body for violations of University regulations. In 1919 a Student Committee on Underclass Conduct was established to regulate the hazing of freshmen. In 1923 this committee fell into ill repute and, although not formally abolished, it disappeared. However passive or restricted student bodies were in judicial matters, in the 1922 (amended May, 1923) provision creating the University Committee on Discipline, a role was assigned to the students: "The Committee on the Student Council provided for in its constitution (namely, the President of the council and two members appointed by him) or representatives of the Women's League, as the case may be, shall be invited to attend formal meetings of the University Committee on Discipline." The Regents amended the legislation creating the University Committee on Discipline to include this student participation. In the period from 1916 to 1934 the Student Council had a Student Advisory Committee which investigated student infractions and made recommendations to faculty committees, to the Committee on Student Affairs, and to the University Committee on Discipline.

In 1934, according to a letter written by Dean Joseph Bursley, "the organization plan of the Undergraduate Council needed restudy, since the women of the University indicated their desire not to participate in the latter organization." As a result of the reorganization of the Undergraduate Council, the Committee on Student Affairs accepted a constitution of the Men's Student Council which included the following articles:

Article III

Sec. 1 — In all schools and colleges except the Law School, Medical School and School of Dentistry the Men's Council shall have power in all men students' activities coming within the field of its recognized jurisdiction, as it now exists or as it may hereinafter be widened by the University.

Sec. 2 — All cases involving discipline of men students which are to come before the University Committee on Discipline and other discipline cases in which the procedure is authorized by the individual school or college, shall be referred to the Judiciary Committee of the Council for investigation and report. Within a reasonable time after receiving official notification of the complaint, the Council shall submit to the University Discipline Committee, or the proper administrative authority of the college concerned, all the documents in the case, together with a written recommendation as to the disciplinary action suggested.

Sec. 3 — Scholastic violations of the Honor Code in the College of Engineering are exempt from such control and will continue to be handled by the Student Honor Committee of that college…

Sec. 4 — Cases of scholastic dishonesty in other schools and colleges are exempt from the control mentioned in Section 2 of this Article and will continue to be handled as atPage  1832present.


("Constitution of the Men's Student Council," April 2, 1935.)

By 1934 student enrollment had risen to 9,000, and another structural change took place. The name and function of the Committee on Discipline was changed to the University Committee on Student Conduct. The initial meeting of the new committee occurred on June 5, 1934.

In the provisions which prevailed between 1922 and 1934, the Committee on Student Discipline was not a policy-making body. The University Senate, the Regents, the Deans' Conference, and, in particular, the Committee on Student Affairs, formulated the various rules and regulations. The Committee on Student Discipline for the consideration of any particular case consisted of three Senate members and a faculty representative from each of the schools or colleges involved. This committee had jurisdiction over cases implicating students from more than one school or college. The Committee on Student Affairs continued to discipline group cases (including fraternities, sororities, and honoraries) until the Sub-Committee on Discipline was established in 1934.

Even after this date, the Committee on Student Affairs felt that it had a controlling authority in cases of group violations. The following resolutions were adopted by the Committee on Student Affairs in May, 1949, and amended in December, 1949:

  • 1. Any recognized student organization which disregards accepted procedures, through the infraction of rules set forth in university regulations concerning student affairs, conduct, and discipline, with subsequent amendments, shall be subject to judicial hearing.
  • 2. Charges arising under the above shall be subject to hearing by the Judiciary Council in the first instance either upon a motion to that effect by the Student Affairs Committee or upon the initiative of the Judiciary Council. The Judiciary Council after conducting hearings to determine whether there has been any infraction on the part of the organization under investigation, shall make recommendations for disciplinary action to the Student Affairs Committee.
  • 3. Disciplinary action shall be defined as follows:
    • a. Probation — wherein the organization shall be permitted to function under warning.
    • b. Suspension — wherein the organization shall cease to function as a group for a stated period.
    • c. Withdrawal — wherein the organization shall have its recognition withdrawn.
  • 4. Whenever the Committee on Student Affairs deems disciplinary action warranted against a student organization, the Committee shall make recommendations to the University Subcommittee on Discipline for appropriate action.

("Minutes of Committee on Student Affairs.")

In 1934 the Committee on Discipline became the Committee on Student Conduct. Although this committee created by and representing all faculties has a major or primary authority in disciplinary cases, its duties and responsibilities are of a legislative or policy-making character. Its major work and its great contribution was made in 1937, when it compiled the rules and regulations applicable to students outside the classroom. Since 1937 the Committee on Student Conduct has met whenever necessary to change or refine that basic document.

The Committee on Student Conduct created the Sub-Committee on Discipline, which differs from the 1922-34 committee. Three Senate members constitute the actual case committee, and their verdict is final. The faculty representatives from the various schools and colleges were dropped. The liaison between the Sub-Committee on Discipline and the Committee on Student Conduct was the secretary of the Conduct Committee, Page  1833who sat with the Sub-Committee, without vote. As secretary he arranged the time and place of meeting, took notes, and informed the various agencies interested in the disciplined students. Until 1947 this work was carried out by Dean Earl V. Moore, of the School of Music. In that year, on recommendation of Professor Arthur Van Duren, the duties of the Sub-Committee were delegated to the Office of Student Affairs, with the dean of students in the case of men and dean of women in the case of women notifying deans and parents of the action taken.

In 1934 no provision was made for students to participate in the deliberations of the Committee on Student Conduct, although students were invited to sit, without vote, on the Sub-Committee. In 1947 three representatives, one from the Student Legislature, one from the Men's Judiciary, and the third from the Women's Judiciary were made voting members of the Committee on Student Conduct.

With the demise of the Undergraduate Council in 1934, a Men's Judiciary was created to "conduct preliminary investigation of student conduct arising under the regulations of the University of Michigan referred to it by the Director of the Office of Student Affairs, or initiated by the Council itself, and to make decisions for disciplinary action subject to approval by the University Committee on Discipline ("Minutes of Committee on Student Conduct"). In 1948 an amendment to the Men's Judiciary Constitution, in co-operation with the Women's Judiciary, converted a part of its membership into a joint council. The men's Judiciary Council lingered on until 1953, when it was discontinued and the Joint Judiciary Council was approved by the president and the Sub-Committee.

From the opening of the West Quadrangle in 1939 until the resumption of student life following World War II, discipline in the Men's Residence Halls was administered by the staff, in particular by the Resident Advisers, by delegation from the Board of Governors of Residence Halls. After World War II various experiments in house and quadrangle judiciaries were reviewed by the Board of Governors, and in April, 1953, authority was delegated to student judiciaries working within the jurisdiction of and under review by the Joint Judiciary Council.

The judicial pattern of the houses composing the Interfraternity Council is not so easily defined. No house has a judicial body, per se; some houses have made provision in their constitutions for the cabinet to act as a judiciary when one becomes necessary. This same provision, with a very narrow jurisdiction, is in corporated in the constitution of the Interfraternity Council:

There shall be an Executive Committee which shall be the judicial body of the Interfraternity Council, and shall enforce the rules of that organization… The Executive Committee shall have jurisdiction over matters of fraternity conduct referred to it by the Office of the Dean of Men… The maximum penalty for violations occurring under the above is the loss of all fraternity privileges which are regulated by the Interfraternity Council.