Thursday, April 06, 2006

Update: Father, Rower, Olympian, Law Student ... and now in jail

I was quite surprised to read today's story about Barney Williams. After he and his team won their race, their partying got out of hand - to the extent that they caused damage to a bicycle and other property, and he ended up in jail for the night. In his words:

We had a little too much to drink, weren't in any condition to get ourselves home and thankfully the wonderful police of Oxford made sure we ended up in a safer place than the side of the road.

It was an incident which could have easily become much more problematic and I'm glad it didn't end up being any worse than it did.

Just a little too much to drink?

This is actually a nice segue to what's been going on at Queen's. For those who are unaware, the university has been considering ways it can deal with student misconduct off campus. In particular, it is trying to find ways to discipline students after Homecoming parties on Aberdeen street. They say that it is damaging to the reputation of the school when students damage property off campus and get into trouble. Further, they want a mechanism to discipline students in addition to what can be doled out by the police or the judicial system.

For your information, the undergraduate students' union, the AMS, has been supporting this initiative. The graduate students' union, the SGPS, has its reservations (the article at this link is a bit old). If the university takes on the mandate of disciplining students for conduct off-campus (outside its jurisdiction, no?), then is it opening itself up to additional liability? Say, for misfeasance in public office? A unanimous decision by the ON CA indicates that it is.

The recent decision passed down by the Ontario Court of Appeal with regards to York University:

The appeal court found that, since the office of president and the power to discipline students come from the legislation establishing the university, the York presidency is "clearly a statutory office."

So, for example, if Mr. Williams were a Queen's law student (instead of Jesus College law student) and he caused vandalism in the streets of Kingston, and the university deemed the punishment unsatisfactory, it could put punish him further by including a note of misconduct on his permanent transcript.

OK - I've really got to get some work done.


At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im the brother inlaw to this guy . My little sister is down playing it , but I know she is upset over it . Just by his (Barneys) commments in regards to the police not having something better to do at 4am. I think he made an ass of himself, and it is totally unexceptable.That guy should not drink, if you ever meet him , Ask him how his best man ended up with a shattered face. in St Catharines ont.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger a blawger said...

Thanks for the insightful comment. Based on what you've said, it doesn't seem like he should have been drinking. Hopefully the effect of this incident will sink in and he'll learn from it.


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