By Alyson Jurgovan
Starting next fall, Roosevelt students can welcome a new Student Conduct Board for the first time in Roosevelt history. The board will be made up of 12 to 15 students who have been extensively trained in appropriately handling student conflict.
Currently, the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution or Residence Life staff conducts administrative hearings. In these hearings, staff members decide whether or not students have violated their code of conduct.
However, the new Student Conduct Board is designed so students can come to like-minded peers with problems they may be having in hopes of coming to a better resolution.
Jamar Orr, Student Conduct and Conflict Specialist, had a direct hand in the implementation of the board.
“What we want to do is empower students to be able to articulate and have a voice in holding their own peers accountable,” Orr said.
Orr predicts that the perspective of fellow students will aid in solving conflict more appropriately than an outside perspective of someone in an administrative role.
The board will be completely comprised of students and will have professionals at every meeting to advise them in asking appropriate questions and providing appropriate sanctions.
The board will be dealing with conflicts amongst students, but also heavily focused on restorative justice by having a dialogue about the conflict and coming to a resolution as a board.
“It’s more of a conversation,” Orr said.
Selected board members will go through two fundamental trainings: an initial extensive training process this summer to make sure they are adequately prepared to handle the level of responsibility, and another once they return in the fall, where they will make sure the skills learned in the summer are still in tact.
Beyond these two trainings, board members will be doing monthly in-service trainings. Some of the skills they will cover are processes, code of conduct, legal perspective and appropriate questioning.
Seona Marshall, a Student Conduct Board member, believes that the board’s role is essential in strengthening the overall mission of the university when it comes to student relations and conduct.
“Each student on the board is apart of a new change on campus and in effect will be apart of the future change for students. Essentially, that is what Roosevelt is all about,” she said.
It is the hope that the board becomes an integral part of the student conduct process. Everything is designed to be from a student perspective and to be in line with what students want and need all while being inclusive of our social justice mission, according to Orr. “We really want our school to be a safe and inclusive environment for all students and we want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable. That’s the point of the code of conduct, not to get students in trouble, but to reinforce the values of our institution,” Orr said.