Saturday, September 3, 2005
With the start of a new academic year, new rules have come into effect governing student behavior. The Rules on the Administration of Students in Ordinary Institutes of Higher Education (普通高等学校学生管理规定) were substantially revised last March and became effective on Sept. 1. Some of the major changes are noted below.
- The long-standing prohibition on marriage by college students has disappeared. Under the former rules, college students wishing to marry were required to withdraw from the university. Furthermore, the new version of the Rules deletes previous language allowing for disciplinary action on the grounds of "evil character and corrupt morals" (品行极为恶劣，道德败坏), requiring instead specific acts. It's not clear whether the new Rules would have saved two students who were expelled last year from a university in Chengdu merely for making out in an empty study room; their appeal to court was rejected in January, 2005. But they are part of a trend toward increasing respect for personal privacy, and decreasing interest on the part of authorities in controlling every aspect of citizens' lives through their work unit. The revised Marriage Registration Regulations (婚姻登记条例) issued in August, 2003 eliminated the requirement of work unit involvement (through the issuance of a certificate) when citizens wished to get divorced.
- While the old Rules allowed universities to expel students for a little canoodling, apparently cheating was not an expellable offense. In two recent cases, students expelled for just this reason have taken their universities to court and have won. The new Rules make clear that cheating is a violation.
- The new Rules establish a procedure for students to challenge disciplinary sanctions imposed by their schools, and require schools to follow certain procedures in imposing the sanctions. This particular revision may stem from a desire to reduce what seems to be a growing number of student lawsuits against their universities.