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Student Conduct & Academic Integrity Changes Name to Student Accountability & Conflict Resolution

Students on the first day of classes.
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The team in Student Conduct & Academic Integrity is announcing a name change for their office; which corresponds with the office’s new three-year strategic plan. The new name is Student Accountability & Conflict Resolution.

Through this strategic plan and name change, staff aim to cultivate a campus culture that embraces different perspectives, civil discourse and free expression through appropriate conflict resolution. Using a values based and student centered approach to accountability, the goal is to foster integrity and respect in our community, and to be national leaders in equity and inclusion within student conduct.

Staff in the office are highly skilled and experts in conflict resolution, behavioral concerns and academic integrity. The office will be moving toward using a spectrum model approach as defined in “Reframing Campus Conflict” by Shrage & Giacomini (2020) to accomplish their work.

Why are we doing this?

An increasingly diverse student demographic coupled with a gap in communication skills presented by social media tools has resulted in a range of problems regarding expectations around conflict. From students writing post-it notes to each other in a roommate conflict, to harmful behaviors which fall outside of the scope of traditional conduct, a change is needed to maintain a positive campus culture and community. A culture which embraces conflict and difference to create learning in a non-punitive manner.  

Additionally, little research exists on discipline and identity within higher education, but what we do know from K-12 research is that there is Black-White discipline gap (Schrage and Giacomini, 2020).  A recent study from Stanford highlights the body of evidence emerging on alternative disciplinary practices and restorative practices in helping to bridge the Black-White gap and reduce exclusionary discipline (Pearman et. al, 2019). The office believes that now is the time to shift the paradigm away from retributive, punitive models of campus conduct and shift to a strategic approach centered on inclusion and reduction of harm.

What does this mean? 

The office will be moving towards using a spectrum model approach which (Schrage & Thompson, 2008) offers a variety of conflict resolution options to be used within a non-traditional approach to student conduct. Formal adjudication processes will still exist (i.e.: hearings), but additional options now exist to help educate and provide conflict resolution measures to the campus community. The office plans to use a combination of options to do this. 

Campus partners and students will be asked to participate throughout the transition and help inform the implementation of the new resolution options. This will start foundationally with an advisory board to help guide changes to policy and process over the next three years. The process will begin in Fall 2021.