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Opportunities and challenges of implementing comprehensive off-campus conduct jurisdiction. Dr. Michael Mardis, University of Louisville, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students Katherine Lavinder, Radford University, Assistant Dean of Students

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opportunities and challenges of implementing comprehensive off campus conduct jurisdiction

Opportunities and challenges of implementing comprehensive off-campus conduct jurisdiction

Dr. Michael Mardis, University of Louisville, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students

Katherine Lavinder, Radford University, Assistant Dean of Students

Jeff Orzolek, Radford University, Assistant Dean of Students

review of literature
Review of Literature
  • “Rioters hurling rocks and bottles turned an off-campus housing area into a war zone. Police officers fired tear gas and wooden pellets known as “knee knockers” to subdue the crowds. At least 45 people were arrested” Hoover (2002)
  • “There is no more difficult problem in colleges today than how to reduce the risks of dangerous college-aged drinking” (Bickel & Lake, 1999).
  • “Alcohol abuse prevention strategies that reach only as far as the campus limits don’t do enough, a report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) argues” (National, 2002).
  • Wechsler (2002) “noted an increasing trend toward attendance and heavy drinking at off-campus parties, where successful enforcement efforts are more difficult.”
review of literature1
Review of Literature
  • “Campus efforts to crack down on underage drinking may be associated with a shift in drinking from the campus to the community, where enforcement may not be rigorous” (Wechsler, 2002).
  • “Simply addressing the root causes of alcohol abuse and providing education and alternative activities, while essential will not be enough” (Bickel & Lake 1999).
  • “Student safety has become a core issue for modern universities” (Bickel & Lake, 1999).
  • “How much oversight schools should exercise over students in the absence of parental authority is a question that has long vexed college deans. But the debate is intensifying now that schools have been held liable for alcohol related accidents off-campus and have faced more demands from communities that they clamp down on raucous behavior from late-night parties to rioting after sports events. In 21st century litigious America, colleges are increasingly concerned about liability issues, says Sheldon Steinbach, general counsel at the American Council on Education.” (Llana 2005)
review of literature2
Review of Literature
  • “Universities are losing prominent student injury cases more than ever; the language of the courts use no longer deferential to the university” (Bickel & Lake, 1999).
  • “1,400 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries” (Aguirre-Molina, 2002).
  • Off-campus drinking is on the rise and is a top avocation for students in higher education (Bickel, 1999).
  • “On certain campuses (e.g., large public institutions, highly competitive private institutions, and schools with large fraternity and sorority systems), the perceived costs (financial, administrative, and political) of limiting access to alcohol are too high, so these schools limit themselves to the more palatable alcohol education and social norms approach” (Wechsler, 2004).
review of literature3
Review of Literature
  • “Tysen Kendig, a spokesperson for Penn State, which was the site of three large student riots between 1998 and 2000; stated that of the 83 students who were apprehended in those incidents, 81 have either been expelled or have left the university. The University has not had any riots since” (Hoover, 2002).
  • “Use of alcohol – and thus abuse of alcohol – has gone underground, resulting in high consumption over short periods of time, and the institution only becomes involved when behavioral issues come to the attention of administrators” Sandeen & Barr (2006).
  • Higher education in general, and student affairs in particular, has yet to develop an effective approach to the management of the issue, and student affairs continue to cope with the problems associated with illegal use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs on a regular basis” Sandeen & Barr (2006).
kapplin lee the law of higher education 4 th edition 2006
Kapplin & Lee The Law of Higher Education 4th Edition (2006)
  • “As long as the college can articulate a reasonable relationship between the off-campus misconduct and the well-being of the college community, reviewing courts will not overturn a disciplinary action unless they find the action arbitrary, an abuse of discretion, or a violation of a student’s constitutional rights. And if the college includes language in its code of conduct, defending challenges to discipline for off-campus misconduct may be more successful.”
  • “To avoid problems in this area, administrators should ascertain that an off-campus act has a direct detrimental impact on the institutions educational functions before using the act as a basis for disciplining students”
why comprehensive off campus jurisdiction was implemented at radford university
Why Comprehensive Off-Campus Jurisdiction was implemented at Radford University
  • Radford Demographics
  • Party Culture Concerns
  • Safety of Students
  • Unrecognized Fraternities
  • Local Citizens
  • Parents
  • VA Attorney General’s Task Force Recommendations
logistics of implementation
Logistics of implementation
  • RU Off-campus taskforce
  • Forums – City, University, Students
  • Commitment to allocate necessary resources (established a new position)
  • City University Joint Advisory Committee
  • Importance of student support (SGA/JPC/SAEC)
  • Need a clear institutional commitment
first year of implementation
First Year of Implementation
  • Importance of communication (Students, City, Police, Hearing Board, Faculty, Media)
  • Open Student Forums
  • Student petition
  • Stress importance of student safety and educational mission of the institution
  • Be prepared for challenges to the university’s authority to address concerns off-campus
  • Jurisdiction brochure with answers to commonly asked questions
  • 20 % decrease in on-campus alcohol violations
types of jurisdiction
Types of Jurisdiction
  • No off-campus jurisdiction
  • Limited off-campus jurisdiction
  • Comprehensive off-campus jurisdiction
  • Differentiation between having the jurisdictional authority vs. implementing a consistent response mechanisms.
  • How is the policy enforced by the University?
example policy university of louisville
Example Policy University of Louisville

When the University is notified, the Vice President for Student Affairs, in consultation with the Provost, may determine that acts prohibited by the Code but not committed on University premises could also be grounds for disciplinary action. Such action will be taken if a student has acted in a way that substantially interferes with or endangers the University community, or behavior with significant potential to disrupt the educational environment. Such acts include, but are not limited to, drug trafficking offenses and acts or threats of violence against persons. http://campuslife.louisville.edu/policies/studentconduct.html/

example policy radford university
Example Policy Radford University
  • Off-campus violations can also subject a student to the jurisdiction of the University Conduct System when the university determines the violation is threatening or disruptive to the safety of members of our university community or to the educational process of the university. Conduct proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with or following legal proceedings. http://www.radford.edu/dos-web/Standards07.pdf
example policy uc berkeley
Example Policy UC Berkeley
  • Student conduct that occurs off University property but within the geographic area immediately adjacent to the campus is subject to the Code. This includes all property bounded by Virginia Street on the north, Shattuck Avenue on the west, and Derby Street on the south. The eastern boundary, as it runs from north to south, is comprised of La Loma Avenue, Gayley Road, Prospect Street (between Orchard Steps and Dwight Way) and Warring Street, and includes property situated along both the east and west sides of said streets.
  • Student conduct that occurs off University property and not within the area described in Geographic Box and Conduct on Other UC Campuses is subject to the Code where it a) adversely affects the health, safety, or security of any member of the University community, or the mission of the University, or b) involves academic work or any records, or documents of the University.
  • In determining whether or not to exercise jurisdiction over such conduct, Student Judicial Affairs will consider the seriousness of the alleged offense, the risk of harm involved, whether the victim(s) are members of the campus community and/or whether the off-campus conduct is part of a series of actions that occurred both on and off University property. http://students.berkeley.edu/uga/conductiii-vii.asp#IVA
example policy notre dame
Example Policy Notre Dame
  • The University’s behavioral policies and procedures are under the jurisdiction of the Office of Student Affairs. All alleged violations are at the disposition of that office through the Office of Residence Life and Housing. Unless otherwise noted, these policies and procedures apply to all students, undergraduate, graduate or professional, whether the behavior occurs on or off campus.


model student conduct code
Model Student Conduct Code
  • Jurisdiction of the [College] [University] Student Code - The [College] [University] Student Code shall apply to conduct that occurs on [College] [University] premises, at [College] [University] sponsored activities, and to off-campus conduct that adversely affects the [College] [University] Community and/or the pursuit of its objectives.
  • Other examples posted on conference website
why we believe we ve been successful
Why we believe we’ve been successful
  • Decrease in assaults (number and severity)
  • Decrease in presence of unrecognized fraternities
  • Improvement in feel of safety surrounding campus
  • Anecdotal and survey information from students, police, community leaders, landlords
  • Alcohol?

“I do agree with the off-campus jurisdiction and the three strikes policy because these are some of the people giving Radford University a bad name. One thing that really bothers me about this is when I see an individual walking home instead of driving. The individual is NOT falling into the road or acting “drunk” and an officer pulls them off and gives them a drunk in public ticket. In my eyes, this person was acting responsible by walking instead of driving and our city officers are bothering these people and causing them to get in trouble off-campus as well as on-campus. I don’t know how this can be prevented, but this is the only situation that I can think of where the off-campus jurisdiction has gaps.”

- RU Student

“I think that the University and City work hand-in-hand to ensure the safety of both students and community members. Living in a college town is unique, as college students seem to have a completely different perception of what is okay to do versus what is not okay socially. The University needs to do a better job of educating the students on its judicial policies, and making sure that students *understand* those policies. There will still be problems, of course, with violators, but the argument that ignorance is not an excuse can cause problems if the students view the University as not reaching out to teach them.”

- RU Student

“RU and the Dean’s office has proven time and time again since these policies have been implemented that the University expects its students to behave in accordance with its Student Code of Conduct, which is a higher standard than the normal citizenry must adhere to, particularly in the penalty phase. Just like Police Officers, RU students represent a greater entity when they function as a community member. It is clear: these are the rules, either abide by them or be held accountable, and because you’re a member of the RU community, you can be held additionally accountable.”

- Radford City Police Officer

“I noticed a big difference in criminal acts after the three strike policy went into effect. Students are now held more accountable for their actions. I feel the area around campus is much safer and criminal acts have decreased since the implementation of the 3 strikes policy. Continue the good work! It has made a very big difference!”

- Radford City Police Officer

“Students who are not concerned about criminal charges, are very concerned with what action the University may take in reference to those charges, creating an excellent deterrent.”

- Radford City Police Officer

police survey
Police Survey

I believe that the policy of off-campus jurisdiction is beneficial to the safety of the community surrounding campus:

Strongly Agree: 33%

Agree: 29%

Neutral: 25%

Disagree: 4%

Strongly Disagree: 8%

police survey1
Police Survey

Since Spring semester 2005, I have noticed a reduction in “pay parties”:

Strongly Agree: 26%

Agree: 35%

Neutral: 26%

Disagree: 9%

Strongly Disagree: 4%

asja listserv survey 1
ASJA Listserv Survey #1

How do you handle police reports of

conduct off-campus?

72 responses

  • Student is put through normal judicial process – 31%
  • Report is evaluated: student may be subject to

discipline – 50%

  • It is rare that we’d hold a student accountable for off-campus conduct – 9%
  • We don’t receive off-campus police reports – 8%
asja listserv survey 2
ASJA Listserv Survey #2

For public institutions only,

Does your code allow you to address the

off-campus behavior of students?

48 responses

  • Yes, but it is rare for us to do so – 39%
  • Yes, and we do so regularly – 50%
  • No – 10%
how the program works
How the program works
  • “Off-campus violations can also subject a student to the jurisdiction of the University Conduct System when the university determines the violation is threatening or disruptive to the safety of members of our university community or to the educational process of the University…University conduct proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with a violation of law which is also a violation of policy without regard to pending litigation in court or to criminal arrest or prosecution.”
          • Standards of Student Conduct, 2007-2008, page 2
how the program works1
How the program works
  • Overview
  • Typically resolve charges through campus system prior to criminal outcome
  • Gather extra information from police department as necessary
  • Police Officers can attend hearings as witnesses
key factors in implementation
Key factors in implementation
  • Relationship building with police department and community members
  • Education of students
  • Community support (on and off-campus)
    • SGA
    • Campus constituents
issues to consider when determining policy for off campus jurisdiction linda rowe asja 2002
Issues to consider when determining policy for off-campus jurisdiction (Linda Rowe, ASJA 2002)
  • Practical Issues (administrative cost, demographics of student body, physical geography of campus setting)
  • Philosophical/Developmental Issues (college mission, campus culture)
  • Historical Issues (tradition, type of institution)
  • Legal/Risk Management/Liability Issues (locus of control, legal history, campus infrastructure)
  • Community and Public Relations issues (expectations and demands, parental concerns)
  • Governmental Issues (regulations and mandates)
legal implications
Legal Implications
  • Double Jeopardy
  • Guidance from legal council
  • Balancing of risk
  • Aguirre-Molina, M. (2002). A call to action: Changing the culture of drinking at U.S. colleges. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
  • Bickel, R. D., & Lake, P. F. (1999). The rights and responsibilities of the modern university. Durham: Carolina Academic Press.
  • Hoover, E. (2002). Colleges struggle to find ways to prevent the postgame rampages. The Chronicle of Higher Education, Retrieved July 7, 2003, from http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i16/16a04001.htm
  • Kaplin, W. A., & Lee, B. A. (1995). The law of higher education: A comprehensive guide to legal implications of administrative decision making (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Llana, S. M. (2005). When students get rowdy, should colleges step in. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved October 14, 2005, from http://csmonitor.com/cgi-bin/2005/1014/p02s02-legn.txt
  • National On-Campus Report. (2002). Colleges can’t stand alone against student alcohol abuse. Copy Editor, vol. 30, issue 6.
  • Suggs, W. (2003). College officials discuss how to stop mayhem after big games. The Chronicle of Higher Education, Retrieved March 7, 2003, from http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i26/26a04301.htm
  • Wechsler, H., Lee J., Meichun, K., Seibring, M., Nelson, T., & Lee, H. (2002). Underage college students’ drinking behavior, access to alcohol, and the influence of deterrence policies. Journal of American College Health, 50, 223-36.
  • Wechsler, H., Seibring, M., Liu, I., & Ahl, M. (2004). Colleges respond to student binge drinking. Journal of American College Health, 52, 159-168.
  • Young, J. R. (2003). New Ohio law requires colleges to expel students involved in disturbances. The Chronicle of Higher Education, Retrieved July 7, 2003, from http://chronicle.com/daily/2003/07/2003070102n.htm