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An administrative response on the judicial process

Dear editor,

The Office of Student Life and the Office of Community Standards have always welcomed discussion with students regarding the University’s student conduct process. In fact, the Student Judicial Charter of 1997 was created primarily by students for students and with students in mind. Student participation in the process is not only essential and valued, it is at the very heart of the process.

It is important to recognize that the Student Judicial Charter created a system that seeks the truth and stresses education. It is by design not adversarial. And, like any system, improvements can be considered, flaws corrected, and processes strengthened.

Unfortunately, the current discussion, reflected in The Daily’s story yesterday, has been poorly served by a “case study” based on an anomalous example. The case study was helpful in some limited respects, but is seriously flawed and inaccurate in many others. To extrapolate from a single anomalous case that an entire system is flawed is simply wrong. In fact, a recent and very thorough review of the system concluded that it is fundamentally sound.

The Daily article contains allegations that must be addressed. It is absolutely false that the charter or that any staff member involved in the process assumes guilt. It is absolutely false that staff members intimidate participants involved in the process, “go after” students to get “convictions” or are “willfully indifferent to rights.” And, it is false that panelists are untrained or biased.

As we have shared with the author of the “case study” and The Daily, both California employment laws and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prevent us from discussing the “case study” in terms of individual alleged actions.

Refinements can always be made. During the past six months, the University, based on a comprehensive internal review, has appointed a new director for the Office of Community Standards, reorganized the office, clarified roles and implemented systems to make the process more efficient.

We invite students to continue to engage in this process, which has a high degree of student involvement already. We welcome and look forward to the conversation and their participation.

Chris Griffith

Dean of Student Life

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