Dean of Students Office Makes Changes for the 2022-23 EQB guide

Meg Butler
News Editor

Over the summer, the Ecce Quam Bonum (EQB) guide was revised for the 2022-23 academic year. Associate Dean of Students Emily Britt was tasked with revising the guide from its 2021-22 academic year form. Britt was hired in April 2022. 

The EQB guide is revised each year to accommodate changing standards on the Mountain. When reviewing the 2021-22 EQB guide, Britt found that the wording in the guide was “not very clear. It didn’t feel like rules, and it didn’t feel like a guide. We were trying to do both things, and not very successfully. So, this year, we took it as a whole and made it both things.” 

The updated EQB guide features a new “Definitions” section that identifies rules and terms in the guide. On Page 7, Definition Q, the EQB guide defines Student Organization Activity in relation to Code of Conduct violations. The definition says: “Student Organization Activity: An activity organized, supported, or sponsored by a Student Organization. The following guidelines will be used to determine if an alleged violation is associated with a Student Organization.

“Conduct is endorsed by the organization or any of its leaders. Endorsement includes, but is not limited to, active or passive consent or support, having prior knowledge the activity was likely to occur, or helping to plan, promote, or advertise the activity.

“Conduct is committed during the course of an activity paid for by the organization or paid for by one or more members contributing personal funds.

“Conduct occurred on property owned, controlled, rented, leased, or used by the organization or its members for organizational activities.

“Purpose of the activity was related to joining, initiating, or continuing membership/affiliation with the organization.

“Non-members of the organization learned about the activity from advertisements or communications associated with the organization.

“Members of the organization attempted to conceal the activity or protect members who were involved.

“One or more leaders of the organization had prior knowledge or reasonably should have known that the conduct would take place.”

These definitions are absent from last year’s EQB guide, as well as the incorporation of organizations in the guide in addition to individual students is also new this year. 

Other changes to the EQB guide involved additional clarity to conduct violations. The public intoxication rule in the 2022-23 EQB guide is as follows: “Public intoxication, being under the influence of alcohol to the extent of losing control of one’s faculties or behavior, including disorderly conduct in public or private locations (including student housing), or endangering oneself or others, is a violation of University policy.”

The 2021-22 EQB guide had a briefer, less specific public intoxication rule: “Public intoxication, and drunk and disorderly conduct in public or private locations is prohibited regardless of age.”

Additionally, the new guide includes changes to the process that takes place after an alleged conduct violation. The appeal window for a conduct violation decision was changed to five days. In past years, the appeal window was three days. 

There are new guidelines for conduct hearings after a conduct violation has taken place. In last year’s EQB guide, every conduct violation went to a formal hearing. Britt and the Dean of Students office included an informal meeting process called an “educational conference” in the 2022-23 EQB guide. With this addition, the accused student and what is called the “resolution officer” meet to potentially come to an agreement on next steps rather than going to a formal hearing. 

“We were trying to provide more opportunities for it to be a collaborative process between the resolution officer and the student. If you were in trouble for something, you would come in for a meeting so we can talk about what information we received, what else do you know, what really happened. How does that connect to our policy and [whether or not] you feel like you’re responsible. If yes, [we discuss] what outcome can we come up with together that [will] help change the behavior,” said Britt. “We’re aiming towards restorative justice.”

Britt said that in coming years, the Dean of Students office would like to slowly incorporate more policies that reflect the idea of restorative justice. A restorative justice underpinning for the EQB guide would require training for staff and small, incremental changing of infrastructure. 

“Restorative justice which can help a lot with conflict management. Conflict is hard, and we need to teach people how to do that. That’s an incremental change we’d love to see,” said Britt. 

Izzie Berthelot (C’24), EQB chair of the Order of the Gown, is working on several EQB initiatives with the OG concerning conflict resolution. “It’s really about leadership training, communication, and conflict resolution training for students and student leaders, so that we can provide tools to learn how to live together in harmony instead of assuming everyone knows how to,” said Berthelot. 

Britt also is working to improve the resource portion of the EQB guide to become more useful, so it can be “the go-to” for students. 

The OG was not consulted as a whole for the updates to the EQB guide, although last year’s EQB chair for the Order, Pressley Wilson (C’22), worked extensively with the Dean of Students office to help revise the guide. Additionally, Berthelot was asked to help review the 2021-22 guide.

The current Student Government Association was never consulted about the changes to the EQB guide. “It was our understanding that past leaders were consulted. No one in the current cabinet was consulted.” It is unclear whether or not this consultation between the administration and last year’s SGA cabinet actually took place.