To some extent, students are responsible for being aware of the rules; but because there is currently no system in place to call attention to new policies, most changes to the Blue Book fall under the radar. This disconnect between students and policymakers on campus is only deepened by the recent shift away from print copies of the Blue Book, which students can now access only as an eBook.
While it is not reasonable to expect the administration to defend every change to the Blue Book, it would be beneficial for students to have a shortlist of each year’s policy changes. That way, we could be aware of the policy changes and how the new rules will be enforced. Even something as succinct as a bullet-point list of the alterations to the Blue Book would be a valuable resource for students.
Despite the integral role it plays on this campus, students know nearly nothing about the reasoning behind the Blue Book’s policies. While some rules are relatively self-explanatory – banning illegal substances from campus, for example – their respective consequences have a large range, with responses ranging from the Sanctuary policy to suspension. As a result, there is no shortage of rumors about discrepancies in the enforcement of school rules, which cause confusion in all stages of the disciplinary process.
This fits into a broader context concerning student conversations about discipline—among students, discussions about the strictest clusters, most notorious deans, and least comprehensible disciplinary decisions make up a significant part of the way that we orient ourselves in relationship to the administration. Those assumptions will not go away overnight, but making students aware of Blue Book changes when they occur would create less of a divide. If we are told what’s new in the Blue Book each year, we can better hold ourselves accountable and have a healthier, more communicative campus.