Non-Academic Misconduct

Below is more comprehensive information pertaining to the Non-Academic Misconduct system that respondents and complainants may find useful. For further inquiries please contact the Judicial Affairs Manager at judicial@ams.queensu.ca or the Office of the Secretariat at secretariat@ams.queensu.ca.

Since the mid-1800s, Queen’s University has utilized some form of Student Code of Conduct to which it has held its student body accountable; by accepting admission to Queen’s, students agree to abide by this Code of Conduct. Non-Academic Misconduct (NAM) is the system by which the Code is enforced. It also refers to the system by which the Alma Mater Society enforces its own policies for AMS members, though this takes a slightly modified form from the process discussed here; for more information on policy violations, please contact the Judicial Affairs Manager or AMS Secretariat directly.

The AMS NAM system is guided by five fundamental pillars:

  • Restorative: While the system is concerned with deterrence as well, the process primarily aims to repair any damage done to Queen’s, including but not limited to its members, property, reputation, and relationship with the Kingston community
  • Peer-Administered: Students are responsible for making decisions on non-academic misconduct in both the Judicial Affairs Office (JAO) and Judicial Committee (JCOMM)
  • Complaint-Driven: Cases are opened and investigated only after a complaint has been filed; NAM is not designed as a means of policing students.
  • Non-Adversarial: AMS NAM does not pit the complainant against the respondent, but instead works to achieve the most holistic and comprehensive understanding of an issue, along with a resolution which allows all parties to move forward in a positive manner
  • Natural Justice: Adherence to the principles of natural justice means that all students who go through the system are afforded the right to a fair and unbiased process

Students may be held accountable for their actions both on- and off-campus wherever there is a connection to the University or its interests (including off-campus events, scenarios where students are representing Queen’s, and issues of reputational damage to the University, amongst others). With NAM being independent of the Canadian legal system, Queen’s students are subject to two separate judicial systems – and are thereby held more accountable for their actions than ordinary citizens.

The most recent version of the Code of Conduct was published in 2016 after an extensive review of the system, and covers misconduct ranging from theft to perjury to assault, amongst other things. The latest version of the Code of Conduct, along with more information about NAM at a University level, may be viewed on the University Ombudsman’s website here.

In 1898, Principal Grant and the University Senate officially delegated the responsibility for administering student discipline to the Alma Mater Society (AMS). Over the years, this system has changed in many ways: what was originally called the AMS Court is now the AMS Judicial Committee, jurisdiction changed when graduate and law students left the AMS for what is now the SGPS, and the source of delegated authority shifted from the University Senate to the Board of Trustees. The system is now, broadly speaking, called “Non-Academic Misconduct”, and functions as a combined effort involving students (to a degree unique amongst North American universities) and the Queen’s administration.

Statistics are available on NAM cases, complaints, sanctions, and more:

More information is also made available each year through the AMS Annual General Meeting. Contact the AMS Secretariat for questions about when, where, and how to attend the AGM.

By accepting admission to Queen’s, students agree to abide by the Student Code of Conduct; since 2015, students are even prompted to read the Code each year when they first log on to SOLUS, although students cannot avoid responsibility under the Code by simply refusing to sign the document online. Similarly, AMS members (including most “undergraduate”, Medicine, and MBA students) are required to abide by AMS policy and the AMS Constitution. On the flip side, all students and AMS members are also eligible to file a complaint under NAM.

General types of offences which may be dealt with under the NAM system include, but are not limited to:

  • Public disturbances
  • Illegal possession and/or consumption of alcohol
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Trespassing
  • Assault
  • Perjury
  • Fraud

Except where such cases are delegated to the AMS by the NAM Intake Office, the AMS NAM system would not handle cases of blatant discrimination (sexual, racial, or otherwise), harassment, sexual assault, serious assault of a non-sexual nature, or murder, as there are more appropriate bodies which would be better able to address these matters.

If you know the student who has allegedly violated the Code of Conduct or AMS Policy, you may file a complaint directly through the link below or by contacting the AMS Judicial Affairs Office directly (see below for contact information). To assist us in the investigatory process, please include as much information and detail as possible. You must include your name and contact information, as well as the information of the person(s) against whom you are making a complaint.

Click here to file a complaint against an individual student

Click here to file a complaint against a student group (e.g. club, Faculty Society, etc.)

If you are having trouble with the online form, or if you would like more information before you submit your complaint, please contact the Judicial Affairs Manager.

If you do not know the student, or you are not comfortable filing a complaint, you can contact Campus Security’s Off-Campus Response Program at 613-533-2922 or through the Queen’s SeQure app (open the app, select “Personal Safety Toolbox”, and then “Report Suspicious Activity”).

Please note that details on AMS NAM procedures for individuals may be found in AMS Policy Manual 4, Chapter VII. The chart below depicts the standard procedure for cases of individual NAM, which are the vast majority of NAM cases.

In cases of Group Non-Academic Misconduct, there is a slightly modified procedure which is detailed in AMS Policy Manual 4, Chapter VIII. Similarly, the policy and process for AMS Policy violations change slightly, as outlined in Policy Manual 4

The AMS NAM system aims to ensure that respondents receive fair and impartial treatment. Before meeting with a representative from the Judicial Affairs Office (JAO), all respondents are required to sign a “Form 1”, which outlines the rights that all respondents possess. Some of those rights are:

  • The right to representation: Respondents may bring any counsel they choose, and are eligible for free consultation with Queen’s Legal Aid (613-533-2102) or the University Ombudsman (613-533-6495).
  • The right to end a meeting with the JAO at any time.
  • The right to refuse to be recorded by the JAO.
  • The right to a translator.
  • The right to the disclosure of evidence to be relied upon by the JAO or JCOMM relevant to the matter: Sensitive information such as the names of witnesses or other parties may be removed from the evidence. Care shall be taken to ensure that evidence will not be disclosed or withheld in a manner which would damage the integrity of the investigation or hearing.
  • The right to a full and open hearing by the Judicial Committee.
  • The right to be notified of a hearing before the Judicial Committee.
  • The right to request that an open hearing be closed to the public: This request will be considered by the Judicial Committee.
  • The right to choose to waive the right to an open hearing: Respondents may opt to reach a settlement with the JAO instead and the Judicial Committee hearing will be closed.
  • The right to make a statement to the Judicial Committee in a closed hearing.
  • The right to call and examine witnesses, and to present arguments and/or submissions, at the hearing: Respondents may conduct cross-examination of witnesses as is reasonably required for a full and fair disclosure of the facts relevant to the matter before the Judicial Committee.
  • The right to appeal a decision made by the Judicial Committee: Respondents must be informed of all the relevant appeal procedures upon receipt of a Judicial Committee decision.
  • The right to express concern over a member of NAM whose judgement may be biased due to a prior relationship with the respondent and/or complainant: If the respondent or complainant is a friend, classmate, neighbour, housemate, sibling, romantic partner, etc. of a member of the JAO or the Judicial Committee, and the concern expressed is reasonable, the party may be removed from the disciplinary process.
The AMS is one of several NAM Units at Queen’s. Cases involving AMS members who are alleged to have violated the Code of Conduct in a manner labelled “Category 2” by the Code of Conduct may be dealt with by the Student Conduct Office, overseen by the University Provost.

The first thing to do if you are contacted by the Student Conduct Office is stay calm. The University may be concerned about what they view as a potential threat to student health and safety – perhaps even your own health or safety – and are also trying to find the most positive way forward for all parties.

The Student Conduct Office also recognizes the right of a respondent to bring any advisor or counsel they choose. This could be a lawyer (including Queen’s Legal Aid), a friend, the University Rector, the University Ombudsman, or any other person you choose. This also means that the Judicial Affairs Office is here to help, and that the Manager can act as an advisor to any respondents in the Student Conduct Office. If you would like assistance or advice from the Judicial Affairs Office, contact the Manager using the information below.

For more information, to submit a complaint, or for help with a NAM case, contact:
Judicial Affairs Manager
(613) 533-6000 x 77944
judicial@ams.queensu.ca

For more information about the Judicial Committee or AMS Policy, contact:
AMS Secretariat
(613) 533-6000 x 77671
secretariat@ams.queensu.ca

Read the Student Code of Conduct
Read AMS Policy and Procedures