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Trial by judge

February 2nd, 2012

Beginning this semester, the Office of Residence Life and the Dean of Students have changed the process students go through if they are written up in residence halls. Student Union Hearing Board will still be responsible for part of the ruling, but area coordinators will now be involved in the process.

Previously violations were sent directly to the hearing board. The aim of this change is to build a relationship between the residents and the area coordinators. The hope is that this will make more of a learning experience out of disciplinary action and consequently decrease the likelihood of violations occurring again.

When a rule is violated, the point of discipline is to enforce the idea that breaking the rules has consequences. Sanctions are in place to dissuade violators from repeating the wrong action. However, this message is sometimes not powerful enough. By talking with residents instead of just punishing them, a more personal and direct impact will be placed on students, which will accomplish the goal of this change.

When making this change, Student Union was not originally involved in the process. This goes against what Residence Life and the Dean of Students hope to accomplish by showing a disconnect between the students and administration and the governing bodies of the student body.

By decreasing the influence of the hearing board in decisions, the perspective of students is being removed from the decision making process. Hearing board officers already must abide by the minimum sanctions laid out by Residence Life, essentially making the hearing board useless.

To improve the disciplinary processes of this University, the role of a student’s peers should be increased. The perspective of students should also carry more weight when decisions are being made. Not considering this is not taking appropriate measures to ensure justice is reached.

Ensuring students learn from their mistakes is very important. But, inserting more outside powers in a situation only distances the students from their government.