Students deny misconduct

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By Emma Prestwich

Two engineering students are angry after they were given a notice of non-academic misconduct they say is groundless.

Komail Kanjee and Akul Goel were accused of non-academic misconduct by staff in the engineering support office Feb. 3 after staff discovered one student’s engineering department network account contained password information from the other’s account.

But both students said they did nothing wrong and weren’t told specifically how their actions violate school policy.

“No policy says that I’m not supposed to have someone’s password, it just says that I’m not supposed to use it, and I never used it,” said Kanjee.

Kanjee claims the actions of two staff members in the office constituted harassment, as well as a violation of school policies, the Canada Human Rights Code, and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Jason Naughton, lead engineer in the engineering support office, said he suspended both Goel and Kanjee’s departmental network accounts on Feb. 2 when he looked through computer logs and became suspicious that the two knew each other’s passwords.

The students’ accounts were locked for the full day, denying them access to their lab resources until Naughton confronted Kanjee when the student came into his office the next day.

“I asked the student whether he knew another student’s password. At that time, witnessed by two other support staff, the student indicated that he knew his friends password … I explained to him that the act of knowing another student’s network password is against departmental policy and the university’s policy,” he said in an email.

Kanjee said he and Goel were working on an assignment and Goel was logged into the network on his computer. Kanjee used the secure shell feature (SSH), which is similar to a computer command window, to log into his own account through Goel’s.

Brian Lesser, head of computing and communications services, said the feature lets students send the computer commands, such as to log into another account.

“In theory, you can issue a command to be the other user,” he said.

Goel said he doesn’t know how using the SSH feature violates departmental policy. Naughton said he told Kanjee his actions violated Policy 61 of the student code of non-academic conduct, which states that a violation of departmental policy is also a violation of the non-academic code.

He said he didn’t charge the two, just made note of what happened. While the notice won’t mean punishment for the students, Kanjee said he has asked the ombudsperson to conduct a fairness review of Naughton and another staff member, Daniel Giannitelli’s actions.

Goel said he and Kanjee also were forced to read a log of their actions and sign a document acknowledging the violation.

“They gave us a notice of nonacademic misconduct, which is not right, because they are not telling us what we have violated, and secondly, they’re just asking us to sign it, there’s no appeals,” said Goel.

Kanjee said he has spoken with student conduct officer Mickey Cirak, who said he will request the electrical engineering department to issue a new notice acknowledging that the staff made a mistake.

Comments

    1. Brain I do agree with you, however, it does not say that you shouldn’t know anyone’s password. The policies says not to give it out. Further, if somehow you do get to know someone’s password, the policies does state:

      “Files, login names and passwords, computer printouts and disk areas are considered personal property. You must not examine or use someone else’s computing property without explicit permission from the owner”

      Nevertheless, if anyone does think that a student, faculty or staff is breaching any policy(ies), there are some protocols to follow and Jason along with Dan did not follow those protocols. What Jason and Dan gave me was a document titled “Notice of Non-Academic Misconduct”, something only the Student Conduct Officer, Vice Provost or the Senate can issue to a student (Senate Policy 61). The main issue is the fairness and following proper protocols.

      If you like you can read through the following documents and Appendix B is the notice that was issued.
      http://mycro.n9ine.com/ru21-second-16Feb2012

      1. Funny why Brian does not want to respond anymore.

        Seriously, someone had to bring this issue up to their attention.

        Everyone makes mistake, Komail might have made one too. But that doesn’t give Ryerson the right to forget all the rules and just follow their own mindless brains.

        Lol to the freaking long link:O I didn’t even go through it after page 2. I just accepted that Ryerson messed up big time *again*.

  1. To be honest, no matter who is at fault in the issue above, Ryerson does use policies for its own purposes and does not comply with them when it is there turn.

    I have been mislead by so many staff members and a few professors. The system does not look transparent to me at all.

    1. Good eye. Some of the guys in the department are also power tripping (including some Elec Eng TAs)

  2. I got a notice/warning whatever they call it since i guess they issue a stupid notice to everyone they want but it isn’t an actual notice.

    Ya so what i did was have a bottle of coke in my back up which was not outside or open on my table while I was using one of those stupid computers. Ok I agree i am wrong since it says outside no food or drinks allowed. But that policy is a BS. I commute from home that takes two hours. Where do i keep my food and drinks? My bagback is the only place. I was not drinking nor do i eat or drink inside computer labs.

    1. The EE support staff is a joke. It is not an understatement when someone says they are on a power trip. I’ve seen one of them blatantly call a student retarded (“do you have a mental disability?”) for having a closed bottle of pop out. Hey EE support, while we’re on the topic of following rules in absolute, why not take a closer look at the Ryerson Discrimination Harassment Policy while we’re at it?

      Part of the issue of food in lab stems from not having a lounge area in the engineering building. I mean there’s the atrium we were promised, but that got stolen from us so the department has a pretty room for suits.

  3. Sorry, I should have checked back here the day after posting my comment. I’m sorry I’m only just catching up on the conversation now.

    I’m not in any position to comment on what happened in Electrical Engineering. I wasn’t there and so don’t know exactly what happened.

    All I can contribute to the conversation is that you must not share your password. Your password is how you prove to the system you are logging into, that it is you, and not someone else logging in. That’s why Ryerson’s Student Computing Guidelines say: “do not give out your password to anyone.” It is also why CCS does not create an account for you on our systems until you have successfully answered a quiz which reinforces that you should never share your password with anyone else under any conditions.

    As for being biased. Sure I am – though maybe not in exactly the way you may think. While no organization is perfect, my personal experience of Ryerson (including the times when I worked with people in EE’s support staff) is that it is an awesome place and getting better every year. I realise everyone’s experience is different and that you may not feel the same way. Again, I don’t know what happened so can’t comment.

    Regardless of what happened in EE, please, never share your password with anyone.

    1. If I was being paid 171k/yeaar, I wouldn’t even mind kissing Ryerson’s a**. Going against Ryerson would be the last option. Sure it is a good place and is getting better every year cause you get a raise every year. No wonder why Ryerson wants to increase tuition fees cause they have to pay you for making life miserable for others.

      1. Brain, I wouldn’t say you’re biased since I haven’t had an experience with you to say it.

        Agreed that giving out passwords is not allowed.

        What I disagree on is the way faculty and staff members treat students. What Jason and Dan did, was not professional and completely rude. Jason was lying right to my face and he pretended to be using the Policy 61 where as he was simply “impersonating” the student conduct officer as only he along with the student vice provost and Senate can issue a Notice of Non Academic Misconduct. When I told him that he can’t issue this notice he referred me to the Chair where the chair himself had no idea what this was. The Student Code of Conduct is in simple English and if Jason can’t interpret it then Ryerson needs to open up Writing Skills Test for staff members too.

        Brian I would say faculty and staff members should go through a quiz on how to follow procedures and protocols that Ryerson has in place. Now these policies are implemented by Ryerson and not the students, so if Ryerson itself fails to follow them then expecting Students to follow it is the last option.

        Regardless of what happened in EE, please, never issue a student a Notice of Nonacademic Misconduct yourself (except those allowed by Policy 61). For your reference here is the link you can follow http://www.ryerson.ca/studentcode/

  4. Emma, you should also do a follow up on the issues that Eyeopener brings up. In the past you guys covered the story abt RSU being sued over their health plan and the prof walking out on students. It will be better if students find out the outcome so that they know what to do and what not to expect. Just a suggestion.

  5. Students think too much of their rights and too little of their duties.

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