Working with Student Affairs truly connects you with all the administrators of campus that most students have no idea exist. Many students do not see why they should even meet Student Affairs professionals but…the whole reason why Student Affairs exists is for the students!
Dr. Beau Seagraves worked with me at the Office of Student conduct and last year was offered a position at the Dean of Students Office as Assistant Dean of Students. Beau is a wonderful role model within student affairs and I get lunch with him about once a month. He knows a great deal about my life and I am so grateful that I have him to look up to. I asked him about his career in student affairs and he actually never thought of a degree and a career in higher education! The Assistant Dean of Students didn’t plan to be in student affairs…what?!
Beau started out as a Resident Assistant and then was hired with Housing. Working his way up, he found himself at UGA and the Conduct Office. Making connections and working extremely hard, he’s now at the Deans Office! He gets to work with Dr. Eric Atkinson and Dean McDonald. I told him at lunch that I want his job and he said he would get me the connections within Student Affairs and can always ask for his advice. How cool!
I was able to attend Orientation Live this past week, a part of the new student Orientation at UGA. Let me tell you, it was worth my OL friend Conner bugging me all summer to come! Styled to SNL, all of the Orientation Leaders did sketches on what its like to be a new student. All I could think about is how all of that stuff was true. Roommate red flags, SEC rivalries and stereotypes (Flordia Gators wear jorts, Vandy students are snobs, Georgia Tech students are nerds, ect.) It was an hour long show that was well put together. I think it would be so cool to be an OL. It’s super competitive but its the most awesome students UGA has to offer. When I was an incoming freshman, I thought they were celebrities. Definitely the best job ever (second to Campus Transit, of course!)
Although Admissions and Orientation are separate from the division of Student Affairs, other schools organize new student admission under student affairs. Regardless of the organization, orientation and admissions are a vital part of student growth and development as these are the first two things that students go through. It shapes their opinion of the school, the people they meet, the clubs they are introduced to, and everything you could think of.
Look out for my blog post about Multicultural Services and Programs next week!
I recently had the privilege of being introduced to the Director LGBT resource center at UGA. I had no idea that UGA was able to provide support and resources to the LGBT students here, much less it was a unit of student affairs! John Hurst, the director, is such a great guy and is really committed to providing all the resources that are available to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.
When talking with John, I really felt like he is there for full inclusion of ALL students. Even if they aren’t LGBT. Allies are welcome too! This unit of student affairs caters to a specific group of students, much like the multicultural services and programs office. Events are held in raising support for the human rights campaign, marriage equality, and acceptance in The U.S. There is even a library of books and films dedicated to LGBT topics. They have a student group that is associated with the center that puts on these events, Lamda Alliance. In the South, LGBT issues are a lot different than other states that have already legalized same-sex marriages. I think that it wonderful to have this office for students who need this type of support in their student development.
Not only does the resource center offer informal counseling and resources, they also offer Safe Space Training. Any student organization or office across campus can be safe space trained. It is a program designed to teach people how to be fully inclusive of all people no matter their race, gender, national origin, religious beliefs, gender, age, sexuality, or gender expression. I think that this is such an important program and every office on campus should be safe space trained because it is really needed in the South.
The LGBT resource center is located on the 2nd floor of Memorial Hall, right down from the Office of Student Conduct.
As I was working out the other day at the Ramsey Student Center for Physical Activities (Ramsey for short), I had a realization. All of the logos throughout the gym were labeled “Department of Recreational Sports: A division of student affairs.”
The whole department is a part of student affairs. Going to work out, lift weights, play racquetball, or play soccer out at the IM fields is a part of student affairs. It was so weird to me that it is a part of student affairs but when you think about the definition of student affairs—anything that pertains to student growth and development—the gym is the perfect match. Students get to interact with each other with club sports and get to grow both in their skills and in their maturity.
I’m not certain how Chickering and the student development theories would be applied here and I’m asking for other student affairs professionals to join in on this conversation because I’d like to know!
Within student affairs, the Office of Student Conduct is probably the one office you don’t want to go to while you are in school. It can be a little scary; however, I am giving you a step-by-step guide to the conduct process at UGA because I work with student conduct!
Say you are caught drinking underage and are arrested. While you may be in trouble with the police, you also agreed to uphold a high standard in the way you conduct yourself at UGA. Because you agreed to the Code of Conduct upon admission to UGA, you must go through the conduct process to resolve the issue at hand.
Step One: Meeting with OSC Staff Member
You will meet with a UGA OSC staff member to discuss what happened on the day of your alleged code of conduct violation. The staff member will outline the process (which is what I’m doing for you right now!). You can choose to speak with them about the incident if you feel comfortable. After you explain your side of the story, the staff member will then decide if there is enough evidence to find you in violation of the alleged code of conduct regulation.
Step Two: Make a decision
If there isn’t enough evidence, then you are done! Nothing goes on your record. If there is enough evidence, you have two options: either settle informally with the staff member and accept the sanctions they give you. These sanctions can include writing an essay on your reflections from drinking under-age and its risks/consequences all the way up to suspension or expulsion. If you do not agree with these sanctions, do not think you are in violation, or do not think that settling informally is the best option you can take the case to the formal resolution process.
So, let’s say you don’t agree that you are in violation for under-age drinking…
Step Three: Meet with an Advisor from University Judiciary
If you decide to go the formal route, you will meet with an advisor from University Judiciary, the student led group that conducts formal hearings for alleged code of conduct violations. Your advisor (possibly me since I serve as an advisor!) will explain to you that you will present your information to a panel consisting of two student justices and a UGA staff member. A University Advocate will present information against you and you have the opportunity to question the evidence. You will have an opportunity to present your information as well. The panel will weigh the evidence and make a decision.
Step Five: Attend your hearing
On the day of your hearing, you should dress in business formal attire if you are able to. Your advisor should have met with you throughout the week to help you submit your evidence, write your opening statements, and gather witnesses for the hearing. The presiding justice will start the hearing and explain all of the procedures for the hearing. Present your evidence with confidence. Do not be disrespectful to the panel or the University Advocate (because we are students too!) If at any time you feel uncomfortable or need to talk to your advisor, call a recess. This process is designed for the student to feel comfortable in talking about the incident. This is not like court or a scene from Law & Order. It’s just a conference room and a panel talking to you.
Step Six: Attend the Decision Delivery
After the panel has heard both the advocate and the student’s information and evidence, they will deliberate on their decision. First they must decide based on the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) if a violation did occur. If they do not find you in violation of the code of conduct, then nothing happens (Yay!). If they do find you in violation, they will then asses the proper sanctions. So let’s say they found you in violation. They will explain your sanctions and ask you to sign a form stating you have received the sanctions. Typically, the sanctions for underage drinking are 6 months probation and a required completion of an alcohol and other drug course. These sanctions are meant to be educational and NEVER punitive. Although Judiciary’s decision is direct and takes effect immediately, you do have the right to appeal on procedural or substantive grounds if you feel like the process was unfair in some way.
Step Seven: Complete Your Sanctions (If you are found in violation)
Make sure to complete your sanctions by the date provided by the panel.
And that is how the formal process goes at UGA!
On Friday, I was able to get lunch with the senior coordinator for the Office of Student Conduct, Emmie Gooch. Emmie is over the University Judiciary and their hearings. (University Judiciary is the student led group that runs alleged student Code of Conduct violation hearings.)
Since I am on University Judiciary, I have worked with Emmie closely over the past few months since she accepted this position. Not only is she one cool girl, she is also from my hometown! We both grew up in Cartersville, Georgia. She even went to school with some of my relatives and graduated in 2000. Emmie used to work for the Department of Recreational Sports which is another division of student affairs. As we were talking over lunch on Friday, I asked her how her experiences with student affairs were and are now that she is in a TOTALLY different facet of student affairs. She said it was hard going from managing recreational sports teams to suspending students. While she managed 43 student organizations previously, she told me that it was great just managing one with student conduct.
Emmie told me she will be going to a conference next week specifically about conduct and judicial processes at colleges & universities. She said it is a great way to network within student affairs at other schools and see how their conduct procedure is done. The conduct office actually had another school call them and ask about how UGA’s conduct process is and if they could model it after us. Emmie told me the most rewarding thing about her job now is seeing the student development process from the time of the alleged code of conduct violation to when she meets with them several months after and reads the essays they write as a part of their sanctions.
I’ll be blogging about my experiences with student conduct through University Judiciary soon! Keep a lookout for it.
Hi, my name is Joshua Grizzle and this is my first blog post on WordPress. I’m taking ADPR 5990 (dubbed Social Media Marketing) this summer as a part of my ABJ degree in Advertising from the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. I have been assigned to create an online resume consisting of professional use of social media across four platforms. I have elected to blog, tweet, post Instagram photos, and utilize LinkedIn to further my online resume in the world of student affairs with colleges and universities. Having been closely connected with student affairs while here at the University of Georgia, my career path has changed from being adamant about going to law school to planning on going to graduate school for a Masters in Student Affairs. If you asked me if I wanted to go for a masters in student affairs when I first arrived on campus, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.
Don’t get me wrong, I still am extremely interested in the advertising and marketing field. From talking with the Dean of Students Office and all other facets of the Student Affairs offices at UGA, I have come to the realization that the degree I’m pursuing now will be used in working with student affairs indefinitely.
From the Office of Student Conduct, the LGBT resource center, Student Life, Admissions, New Student Orientation, Housing, Multicultural Services & Programs, and all the way up to the VP for Student Affairs Office, I’ll be blogging about my experiences as a student looking inward to the Division of Student Affairs at UGA and how it has sparked my interest in becoming involved with higher education. Although some of the offices that I will be posting about aren’t within the division of Student Affairs specifically at UGA, some college may include these departments within their structure of Student Affairs. The organization of the division does not matter, it is solely about how the college assists in student growth and development. It provides the support to be the best student one can possibly be. Lookout for my following blogs as they will have interviews and my thoughts with the Assistant Dean of Students, a recent graduate from the Masters Program now working as Deputy Chief of Staff to the President at Baylor University, the Director of Student Conduct, and the Director of Multicultural Services and Programs and much more!