Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, April 20, 2018

Five questions with Rob Hradsky

Five question about AU’s changes to the Student Conduct Code for Rob Hradsky, dean of students.

What prompted these changes to the student conduct code for off-campus procedures?

The Student Conduct Code is substantially the same with respect to jurisdiction with the exception that off-campus misconduct may now be addressed through the Student Conduct Code irrespective of police involvement in the incident. Previously, conduct charges would typically be filed in situations where a student was issued a citation for a violation of local, state or federal law. The elimination of this practice was prompted by a small number of off-campus incidents about which the university received numerous complaints but in which there was limited or no police involvement. The revised language of the Student Conduct Code enables the filing of Conduct charges against students in such cases with the goal of achieving greater accountability among students who repeatedly conduct themselves in a manner that is disruptive to their communities.

Will these changes ultimately help the passage of the campus plan, and if so, how?

Some of the university’s neighbors have complained to their Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) representatives about the misconduct of a small number of AU students residing in their neighborhoods. These neighbors claim that the University is not doing enough to address student misconduct in the surrounding neighborhoods and have asked that the University do more to stop disruptive behaviors in their communities. Some of these neighbors and their ANC representatives have indicated that they will not support the University’s campus plan when it comes before the Zoning Board, unless the University does more to address off-campus misconduct. Modifying the language of the Student Conduct Code demonstrates to the University’s neighbors that the University is serious about addressing off-campus student misconduct that is disruptive to the surrounding communities.

What is considered a “negative effect on the university’s mission” and the “well-being of the community”?

The University’s mission is, in part, to provide a rich living/learning environment that promotes student learning both inside and outside of the classroom. The inability of the university to build new residence halls and academic buildings because of neighbor opposition to the University’s campus plan resulting from student misconduct in the neighborhood is one example of a negative effect on the University’s mission. Furthermore, the safety of our students, staff and faculty and the general well-being or our surrounding community is of utmost importance to the University. The Student Conduct Code must support the University’s efforts to address these priorities.

Do you think these changes will result in more students getting into trouble with the University?

The majority of AU students living off campus engage their neighborhoods in positive ways. Use of the Student Conduct Code to address off-campus misconduct will continue to be reserved for those cases that are egregious or where students exhibit a pattern of repeated misconduct. It is unlikely that there will be an increase in the number of students “getting into trouble with the University.”

What exactly is the jurisdiction of the University’s policy? How far off campus does this reach?

University policy does not place geographical boundaries on the jurisdiction of the Student Conduct Code. Even before it was amended, the Code included the expectation that AU “students, wherever they are,... adhere to high standards of honor and good citizenship and... conduct themselves in a responsible manner that brings credit to themselves and the University.” (VI. Prohibited Conduct)

“Five Questions with Rob Hradsky” is part of our “Five questions with...” series, where The Eagle will be asking various members of the AU community five questions about hot issues.

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