Part one: Finding faults in Student Affairs

Opinion written by Anonymous

Last week, as I attended a dinner with several faculty members, I was besieged by a professor about my consumer patterns. This professor outlined why I should not frequent a certain fast food chain because of the beliefs of their C.E.O. After giving the comments some thought, I began to think about applying this logic to other consumer transactions in my life, including this college.  I was left with the decision, after applying the “consumerism with a cause” logic, that I would not have conducted a consumer transaction with this college. The reasoning for this is pretty straightforward, but not well-known to the general public of Hastings College. I, like I assume most of the population at HC, believe in the rule of law. However, the administration at HC seems to only believe in the idea of the rule of law. Student Affairs holds themselves to certain principles that, at face value, we as students agree with because they are equal,  fair, communicative, participatory, procedural and transparent. Upon further inspection, what Student Affairs holds themselves to and what they actually do are two different things. Students forced to traverse the administrative landscape are met with a process that is ambiguous, subjective and full of nepotism. This leaves students confused and unsatisfied with no voice to advocate for the ideals with the administration.

While there are numerous cases that illustrate these points, we will start by looking at the student handbook policies and compare them with policies currently practiced by the Student Affairs staff. In our student handbook, the Student Judicial System is outlined on page 54. There it details and empowers four levels of the judicial system and an administrative escape route. The first level, the Resident Hall Councils and Bronco Village Board, are widely known and used by and large the way they are procedurally supposed to function. 

The second, the Student Judiciary Council (SJC), is given the authority to take care of all student matters that happen outside of the jurisdiction of the first level that do not constitute a gross moral violation. At present, this council has not been given the official authority from Student Affairs to see any of these cases and has had to fight to get any access to their jurisdiction, according to SJC members. The third, the Judicial Review Board, is supposed to see all cases of gross moral violations on the HC campus, but has not met for the past two years according to a source that should have been present at any meetings if they had taken place. The fourth level, the Academic Affairs Committee, handles cases of academic dishonesty both in procedure and function. Finally, there is the Administrative Hearing, the clause that allows Student Affairs to disregard everything else and do what they feel is best. Granted they have this power, but should they use it in every instance and disregard the rest of the procedures?

The problem with Student Affairs begins with their improper practices regarding the two boards in the middle. Why do they have these boards on the books, but give absolutely no power to them? Responses heard from administration are along the lines of the procedural, “It’s just not clear how to get to these boards.” Is it not the job of Student Affairs to direct the students to these boards and call them to order? Administration is well aware that the SJC meets every two weeks and has created numerous procedures they hope to see implemented so that students are treated fairly.

However, the majority of students are still unable to navigate their way to see adjudication under this group and others. Over the next few weeks, I hope to share with campus the accounts of Student Affairs blatantly ignoring procedures and operating in a way unbecoming of any official institution.

CORRECTION APPENDED: Two inaccurate clauses were removed from this story.

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