OPINION | Conduct Board needs change

The members of Butler University’s Student Conduct Board hold an immense responsibility—hearing appeals from students who undergo an administrative review.

Student Conduct Board members determine whether or not any punitive measures set against their peers can be changed.

Due to the large amount of power vested in these positions, the exact procedures surrounding student appointment should be examined.

First-year students make up five of the 12 conduct board members.

While there is no problem with freshmen serving on this board, no class should hold nearly half of the positions.

Since Student Conduct Board reviews get moderated by at least three students, two faculty members and a staff member without a vote, this becomes even more important.

The students presiding over a review are selected at random from the 12 members, meaning a student appellant could face a review board with more than one first-year student.

This biases the session since student experience in college changes over time.

Due to these issues, the student appointment process should be reviewed and changed.

Administration could explore several ideas to make the board more representative of the student body.

Reworking the policy so three members from each class must be appointed would make the representation more equitable.

By divvying up the positions available by year, a student appellant’s chance to face a panel composed predominantly of a certain class would be reduced.

A more radical change would be a complete overhaul of the system, replacing it with a process that mirrors jury duty.

Although this idea might be unpopular at first, a system similar to jury duty would ensure an unbiased and fair conduct board.

Students would be selected randomly to serve on the conduct board each time a student makes an appeal.

This random selection balances the amount of power centered on the board by changing those standing on it for each session.

A jury duty system would also have the benefit of preparing students for a real-life situation they will likely encounter.

This reformed process would also solve another issue with the current board policy—those appointed serve for two years at a time.

With a position this powerful that allows individuals to make potentially life-changing decisions, a two-year term is far too long.

Especially at a four-year university, a position of power that lasts two years simply fails to acknowledge the constant change and flux of a college campus.

Large, systemic issues are at play within the Student Conduct Board as it stands now.

The administration should review the structure of the Student Conduct Board— and soon.

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