On Sept. 1, Faculty Council unanimously endorsed a revised version of Ithaca College’s Intellectual Property Policy without the input of any student representatives. Though it has not yet been officially approved, both the way this endorsement was handled and the language used in the document itself raise some serious concerns.
First, no student was involved in the revision process, and because this policy directly affects students, this should not have been the case. A student representative should have been invited to the Faculty Council meeting to offer input or criticism. Student voices should not be left out of any conversation that could have an impact on students, which, since this is a college campus, includes every conversation.
There are also many issues with the ambiguity of the policy’s language. The policy claims that if “an unusual contribution of College resources” is used in a student’s development of a creative product, the college should receive a portion of the student’s profit from that product. This phrase is unclear and impossible to define concretely and objectively. If this rule is used on a case-by-case basis, several variations will occur between how much the college receives from each student’s creative product. This issue needs consistency.
Beyond this, should the college receive any portion of the profit students make off their creative work? Students already pay the college through their tuition money, which entitles them the right to all the resources the college can offer for their creative work. The college should be more interested in profiting from student and alumni reputation in the professional world rather than just their money. The more successful the students are, the more likely the college will profit monetarily from higher enrollment rates.
All of these concerns could have been raised directly to the faculty and administration if only students had been invited to the conversation. Like all other issues that take place on this campus, students need to be involved.