The Undergraduate Government of Boston College has created a pilot program to provide an individual conduct consultant for students who receive disciplinary sanctions. This consultant is a student whose job is to inform the disciplined student of his or her rights and help the student through the process.
A conduct consultant program is useful for students. As it stands, the disciplinary process often leaves students unsure of how to proceed. They do not know what they should say to their residential director, how to approach their hearing, and what rights they have. A trained consultant is a simple way of confronting this and preparing students. By informing students of their rights, the consultant will be able to help students understand their position and how to proceed. This could mean that a student could seek an appeal, or better explain the situation to his or her RD with complete knowledge of the process.
UGBC has access to resources of which most students are unaware. By spreading information to consultants and setting up a system through which students can seek support, UGBC is using its resources wisely by supporting this program. Hopefully, this program will remain in effect in the future and will expand. This program is similar to an already-offered service at Georgetown University, which ensures that students understand their rights in the disciplinary process. By joining another elite Jesuit university in the creation of this program, BC is improving its offerings for students.
While this is a good first step, the University should continue to develop students’ rights programs. The previously mentioned Georgetown program involves an office devoted to students’ rights. Moving forward, the University would do well to keep the conduct consultant program while also expanding students’ rights offerings.
One necessary portion of ensuring this program’s success is to properly train consultants. Since the consultants themselves will be students, they must undergo a thorough training process and be made aware of every facet of the disciplinary process in order to effectively help students. An untrained consultant would de-legitimize the program and could easily hurt a student’s disciplinary situation more than help it. This is the most essential part of the program and deserves serious attention as UGBC moves forward.
A student’s lack of knowledge regarding his or her rights can lead to unnecessary mistakes during a disciplinary hearing. As an institution meant to help students, UGBC should attempt to create as many tangibly beneficial programs for undergraduates as possible. Succeeding in the creation of a conduct consultant program demonstrates these tangible benefits and will help a great deal of undergraduates.
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