Drugs, student violence top conflict report

BY
BY ALISON GO
Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 15, 2004

The Office of Student Conflict Resolution published a report
this week that outlines the number and types of violations the
office handled during the last six months and the outcomes of those
cases. The report was the first of its kind.

OSCR is a unit within the Division of Student Affairs that
administers the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities,
the University’s non-academic conduct policy known as
“the code.”

The report lists different types of violations and the number of
incidents of each. For example, some of the most common charges are
“violating state/federal law” or drug and alcohol
violations, with OSCR handling at least 30 cases of each since July
1, 2003. By contrast, most categories of violations received less
than 10 citations. Also outlined and listed in the report are the
resolutions of these cases. Students could potentially be held
responsible or not responsible, have their case dropped or go
through an “alternative dispute resolution,” such as
mediation.

OSCR Director Keith Elkin said the report is part of the
office’s effort to become more available and
recognizable.

“The Statement is actually a process for resolving
complaints,” Elkin said. “It’s the
student’s chance to resolve their own case. … (OSCR
suffers) from a lack of recognition, but we want students to be
educated about the Statement of Student Rights and
Responsibilities.”

The report is a response to requests for more information on
enforcement of the statement, such as disciplinary action and
conflict mediation.

The Statement and the OSCR are designed to be educational and
help students learn from their behavior to prevent future
conflicts, Elkin said.

“Our goal is to educate the University community on how we
work,” he said.

“The community has been asking what the issues and
sanctions are and this helps us make sure we’re keeping an
educational focus,” said E. Royster Harper, vice president
for student affairs. “It’s an attempt to be responsive
and transparent.”

Among the 148 incidents of misconduct, OSCR also reported 23
cases of “hazing, stalking (or) harassment” and 30
cases of “making, possessing (or) using falsified University
documents.”

Most of the complaints OSCR receives are forwarded from the
Department of Public Safety or Residence Halls Association, Elkin
said.

Although this information is already public by the Freedom of
Information Act, many students do not realize its availability.

“While we have always had the information for anyone to
see, this (report) will make it more accessible,” Elkin
said.

Students involved with OSCR agreed the report is a move in the
right direction.

“OSCR has made steps at outreach, like publishing the
Statement and letting kids know what the process is,” said
LSA sophomore Lyric Chen, co-chair of the Student Rights Commission
of the Michigan Student Assembly.

The commission works to amend the Statement and educate the
University community of its existence.

“It’s great they are emphasizing
transparency,” she added.