By MOHAMMAD MESBAHI
As a member of this community, are you familiar with our judicial system? Do you know the differences between the Judicial Review Board (JRB), Honor Council and Student Conduct Hearing Board? As a student serving on the JRB, members of the University of Mary Washington community have often asked me questions regarding university policies and the judicial process. I have seen that many do not know about the structure of the UMW judicial system.
Students often wrongly think that the JRB and Judicial Affairs are synonymous. I would like to clear up the confusion by explaining the structure of the judicial system.
Our university, like any community, has standards of behavior. These behavioral standards help students to be academically and socially successful – they are not arbitrary but help to make UMW a place where all students can work and live up their potential.
The goal of the UMW judicial system is to educate students about their rights and responsibilities within their community and of the consequences of behaviors that are inconsistent with UMW standards.
The Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility oversees the judicial system. This office is led by the friendly and hardworking Director of Judicial Affairs, Ray Tuttle, who oversees the JRB and the Student Conduct Hearing Board.
Tuttle hears all alleged violations that are classed as “Level I,” which include, but are not limited to, alcohol intoxication, weapon possession, hazing, pranks, fire safety violations and repeated charges of underage alcohol possession or consumption.
All alleged “Level II” violations are heard either by the professional members of the Residence Life Staff or by the JRB. Level II violations include underage possession and consumption of alcohol, prohibited items like microwaves in student rooms, property damage and a long list of other possible violations of UMW policy.
The JRB consists of a hardworking elected president, elected vice president and five elected students from each class.
The Student Conduct Hearing Board, which consists of Student Affairs administrators, hears alleged “Level III” violations of UMW’s sexual misconduct policy, sexual harassment policy and drug policy.
The Honor Council oversees the University’s honor system. Honor violations are any kind of academic or non-academic lying, cheating or stealing. These violations are judged by the Honor Council, which consists of an elected president and vice president and five students elected from each class. It is separate from UMW’s judicial system.
Now that you know about the structure of our judicial system, I want to invite you to participate in the events and activities planned for UMW’s Judicial Awareness Week, which is to be held the week of Feb. 14-18. There will be hot chocolate, trivia games and a BBQ. Look for our signs. Come and ask us any questions you have. We are here to serve and educate you and to ensure your rights and responsibilities are upheld.