“We want to create a university that we feel good about, we feel proud to be at and when we graduate and move on, we feel that this is the place where we want other people to come and have the same experience.” – Sharistan Melkonian
After several violent and non-ethical actions of students, such as fights aroused after playing cards on campus and setting a table tennis ball on fire, a decision to create an official document defining the behavioral culture of AUA students was made.
In fall of 2014, President of the American University of Armenia, Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, created a committee to design a Student Code of Conduct policy. Code of Conduct is a document which includes a set of rules, responsibilities and expectations that are mandatory to abide by for everyone belonging to a certain institution.
Sharistan Melkonian, director of accreditation and a member of the Code of Conduct committee, noticed that this document is very essential for the university as it aims to design the culture of AUA. That is why the committee decided to involve everyone in the process.
“When you develop something that is so important like a Code of Conduct, you want to be sure that everyone is on the same page… We get to develop it from the ground up, so all of us participate to develop it and determine what is important.”
Although AUA already has a Code of Ethics, the outcome from student meetings has indicated that students are mostly concerned by the ethical aspect of the new policy. Therefore, the Code of Conduct will mostly refer to behavioral matters, which will fill the gaps and cover the aspects that are not included in the Code of Ethics.
After the finalization of the Code of Conduct draft, the document will be sent to both Undergraduate and Graduate Student Councils, faculty and staff for consideration and feedback. An official Code of Conduct policy is expected to be ready by the end of this academic year.