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Buck scandal incites change

More rules issued in hopes of deterring bad student behavior

 by Lynh Bui
 published on Friday, January 24, 2003

Brian Buck/issues/campusnews/351006
Brian Buck


The scandal surrounding the filming of a pornographic video on ASU property last semester has prompted Student Life officials to issue a new policy addressing appropriate conduct for students considered to be representatives of the University.

The Student Judicial Affairs department hit a wall last semester in its attempt to punish former student government executive Brian Buck for his role in the film "Shane's World 29: Frat Row Scavenger Hunt 3."

Buck made an impromptu cameo in the 2001 film when two professional porn actresses showed up to the Sigma Nu fraternity house, where he then resided, asking for amateur participants to assist them in a scavenger hunt.

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ASU Student Code of Conduct

Given Buck's high-profile position at the time, the public revelation of his on-camera role created considerable embarrassment for the University, leading ASU President Michael Crow to then respond by saying, "People have to be careful when they are wearing an institutional hat, and I don't think that much caution has been used. It is important for students to take very seriously who their spokespeople are."

Despite Crow and the administration's anger, the current Student Code of Conduct had no stipulation holding student government officials to higher behavioral expectations than the rest of the student body.

Nonetheless, Buck was found in violation of two sections of the existing code and was then barred from living on ASU property. He was also obligated to write apology letters and perform 100 hours of community service. Additionally, he resigned as executive vice president of the Associated Students of ASU.

Several months after the Buck debacle, the Student Life office crafted an addition to the Student Code of Conduct that states members of ASU extracurricular activities who "fail to represent the university with honor, dignity or integrity" may be forced to resign their membership with such organizations and risk being banned from participating in any other campus activities.

Deborah Sullivan, assistant dean for Student Judicial Affairs, said the policy was not targeted toward any single student or organization. However, she did say that the "filming incident" created a need to explore the issue of "leadership and responsibility."

Students participating in extracurricular activities, such as band members, sorority sisters and State Press reporters, who "reasonably could be understood to be representing the university," are subject to the new code.

Despite the serious consequences that the new policy could enforce, many members and leaders of campus organizations remain clueless about the new policies implemented at the beginning of the semester.

"The policy just reminds students of the responsibilities that come with carrying a privileged position," Sullivan said.

Buck, now a business senior, said the vague wording of the new policy concerns him.

"What scares me about a rule like this is that who is to say when a student officer has overstepped his/her bounds and said too much or done something unacceptable," Buck said. "I think the school is forgetting that these are elected positions by the student body and that the student body should be the only power to remove its officers."

Sullivan said that all violations will be handled on a case-by-case basis and that the policy is not intended to interfere with the policies and constitutions student organizations have already established.

"We are not going to lightly remove any student elected by the student populous," Sullivan said.

Francisco Aguilar, a computer engineering sophomore and member of the Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity, was unaware of the new policy, but said he was worried that the code may have exceeded it bounds by addressing actions students take off-campus.

"You are an individual even though you are part of an organization," said Aguilar. "When you go home, that is your domain. The University can't tell you what to do."

Aguilar added that he felt the new policy was also unnecessary.

"Our organization has strict by-laws and we would take our own measures before the University would," Aguilar said about disciplining unruly members of his own organization.

The graduate student representative for ASASU, Tim Lant, was also unaware of the new code, but said it would likely be addressed at the next meeting.

"This policy does nothing but formally state what is already reasonably expected of students," Lant said. "A vast majority of individuals in ASASU are of the highest moral character and would have no difficulty meeting these conditions."

Lant also said he felt all group members, even those elected by the student body, should realize their responsibilities are not limited to campus grounds.

"We serve a dual role," Lant said. "We are representatives of the students while we are on campus, but as soon as we leave, we become representatives of the University."

The Office of Student Life distributed letters, e-mails and flyers to campus organizations in an attempt to inform students of the new policy. A letter of notice will also be attached to the paychecks of all students who work for the University within the next month.

"I get a kick out of the fact that ASU was so scared of me that they had to change their bylaws," Buck said.

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