Students to run dorm discipline

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August 30, 2001

The Residential Judicial Council, designed by InterHall to create a more student-centered disciplinary system, will be introduced campus-wide following last year’s successful pilot program in the New South dorm.

“We wanted students to hold students accountable for their actions,” Residential Judicial Council Executive Holly Combe (CAS ‘02) said.

According to Combe, students in New South responded favorably to the new council. The majority of students, she said, are happy that students rather than administrators were hearing their concerns.

Combe said that in New South the Council dealt primarily with Category A violations. These include first-time alcohol violations, guest policy violations and violations of the dorm-wide “no hall sports” policy.

According to council procedural guidelines, the RJC will only hear Category B violations if the student in question has already admitted responsibility. Category B violations include selling or distributing alcohol to students under 21 or to those already intoxicated.

The RJC can hear all Category A violations, even if the student in question denies responsibility.

Combe said that seven different chairmen as well as two executives are responsible for running the Council. There is no strict “hierarchy,” she said, and this ensures that power is distributed more equally among different students.

According to RJC member Joe Gardner (CAS ‘03), each hearing board comprises one chairperson, two full-time council members, one juror who was a student-at-large selected from the residence hall to serve on one board each semester and the Hall Director.

Students are first asked to admit or deny responsibility, depending on the type of violation, then present their case to the board. Students can present evidence and witnesses or choose to remain silent. Board members may then question the student, after which the student can question members of the board concerning facts or statements of the report.

The board, Gardner said, deliberates and finds the student either “responsible” or “not responsible.” The members draft a letter explaining their decision, which the student later receives. According to Gardner, hearing boards were scheduled every week last year for the entire spring semester.

“I am very optimistic,” Gardner said. “Our evaluations from jurors and respondents suggested that everyone thought that we were fair and that overall it was a very educational experience for all who were involved.”

Previously, residence hall violations were handled through the Residence Hall Director and Area Coordinator. The Office of Student Conduct will continue to handle Category B violations for which the student denies responsibility and cases for which the student may be suspended or dismissed from the University.

According to Gardner, Resident Assistants were asked to discuss the new Residence Judicial Council with their students this week at their first floor meetings. The Council will be implemented in all dorms as

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