Student conduct rumors and concerns clarified

Robert Beeland

Executive Editor

In semesters past, a report was released by the Dean of Students’ office called “Inside the Gates” that provided data from the previous semester’s conduct violations and their resulting sanctions. From disorderly conduct to alcohol-related hospitalizations, the reports detailed general trends in student conduct and addressed the consequences of such violations. However, the “Inside the Gates” report has not been released since January of 2015 and rumors regarding the university’s responses to conduct violations have been spreading.

I sat down with Dean of Students Marichal Gentry to gain some clarity regarding the perceived discontinuation of the “Inside the Gates” reports and these rumors. Dean Gentry explained to me that the lack of a recent report has been the result of the university’s concerns regarding student anonymity in the publicizing of sensitive information. The dissemination of a report with relatively few cases could compromise the anonymity of a student’s case. The data is still being kept by the university, and Dean Gentry hinted at the release of a report towards the end of this year. Just in 2015, the Dean of Students’ office released the EQB guide—a streamlined conduct policy that has brought consistency and clarity to the university’s policies regarding student conduct.

Gentry, the former Associate Vice President for Student Life and Senior Associate Dean of Yale College at Yale University and Associate Dean of the College at Middleburg College, is also working to implement a paperless system for handling student conduct violations with a software system called Maxient. Furthermore, work is in progress to create a more visible, active, and fully student-run conduct board. Finally, Gentry dispelled rumors regarding the university’s efforts to bring police canine units to campus. Gentry, whose words were echoed by Assistant Dean of Students for Student Organizations Hagi Bradley, assured me that the university had not brought dogs onto campus to search for drugs.

Possibly communicating an inaccurate image of room searches in a knee-jerk reaction to regular room inspections by Residential Life staff, students on campus began to deliver a message of warning to one another about hiding their alcohol and drugs. Posts on Facebook and YikYak inflamed the supposed sighting of a Franklin County police officer and his search dog. However, according to records, there has been no proof of police violating the privacy of students by searching their rooms for marijuana or illegal substances without just cause.

This past week, the Honor Council sent out a report similar to the “Inside the Gates” report, outlining its Advent 2015 cases and their results. Chair Mark McAlister‘s (C’17) email to the student body read: “During Advent semester 2015, the Honor Council dealt with eighteen cases. Of these, four were dismissed for lack of evidence. Of the remaining fourteen, nine were academic and five were non-academic. In the non-academic cases, all five students admitted guilt and were given probation and service hours. The nine academic cases involved one in which the student was not found guilty and eight in which there was either a finding of guilt (6) or an admission of guilt (2). For these eight, a one-semester suspension was recommended in two instances and a two-semester suspension was recommended in six.”