Dean Hartman spearheads new changes: The Jury is in and Peer Review Board is out

Nathan Acuña

As of Fall 2016, the Peer Review Board process has been disbanded and has been replaced by the Student Conduct Review Board (SCRB). 

This official change was just one in a series of corrections, changes and fine-tunings to Whittier’s Student Code of Conduct to replicate an atmosphere of reflection instead of retribution. It is a renovation facilitated by newly appointed Associate Dean of Students Josh Hartman. 

The Peer Review Board also took student feedback into consideration, reporting that the student chair conveyed frustration over the strict dictation of official policy with no conversation or input from the Board itself.

Dean Hartman described previous student disciplinary actions as “primarily punitive” and not constructive.  “Our student conduct process is now more focused on being reflective, restorative and educational,” Dean Hartman said. 

For instance, a sanction might require a student to reflect on their infraction in a written composition or hold a meeting with those impacted by an offense to restore any hypothetical damage.  

This means disciplinary fines are something of the past, as they were determined by Student Life to be a discriminatory practice, damaging those who may not be able to afford the payment. 

Instead of a review board purely made up of students, the SCRB is made up of a balanced amount of faculty, students and staff. Three to five SCRB members review each case.

Dean Hartman makes it clear that the concept of the SCRB is not new to the Whittier campus. “Whittier has had these sorts of conduct boards in the past, as many faculty and staff can attest,” Dean Hartman asserted.

There is not any one definite type of case or cases that will go directly to the SCRB; instead, cases that do depend on a variety of factors, including “severity of the charges, complexity of the facts of the case or past student conduct history for the subject in case.” 

Additionally, not all cases go strictly to the SCRB as apposed to an Administrative review. “The final decision of whether a case goes to an Administrative Hearing or SCRB lies with the Office of the Dean of Students,” Hartman said, “but the student preference will be strongly taken into account.” 

The Amnesty Policy, which offers a sort of pardoning to students, has also been implemented at Whittier. Students can call numerous sources of public safety to assist overly intoxicated friends without fear of official sanctions or a mark on either student’s record. 

Such resources include Campus Safety, the Whittier Police Department, an on-call Area Director or an RA. However, it is important to note that unofficial sanctions may still occur, including reflective, restorative or educational sanctions, as mentioned above. 

Dean Hartman encourages students interested in a role on the SCRB to contact ASWC President Amer Rashid, who is working with the Dean to appoint these new positions.