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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How many students have had "three strikes"? and How many of those students were suspended?

I asked JMU for data on the effectiveness of the "three strikes" policy. The Judicial Affairs office reported that in their data base covering ten years (2000-2010) there have been a total of 212 "three strikes" and of those who have had "three strikes" 78 have been suspended.  Judicial Affairs notes " As you can see in the end there are very few students who receive three strikes for alcohol violations."
  Again the data demonstrates that suspension is an infrequently used sanction. Judicial Affairs has wide discretion in dealing with student misconduct.  In their response Judaical Affairs noted" If there is  violence, drug dealing, or drinking and driving, or other behaviors that negatively affect the community that goes along with "a strike" a student can and often is suspended on a first or second violation."  I  appreciate that each case has individual circumstances that must be addressed but there seems to be a need for some standardized criteria like courts have "sentencing guidelines" that direct the consequences implemented for violations.  I contend that increasing the number of suspensions will have the most impact on changing the negative alcohol culture at JMU.  I see suspension as a way to increase accountability for student alcohol behavior misconduct.  I believe JMU needs to increase the balance of "accountability" versus "education" and this may mean a paradigm shift in the Judicial Affairs office. The current mission of Judicial affairs is
  • " We are committed to promoting student learning, civic responsibility and, through partnerships, developing the community necessary for the university to achieve its mission."
Developing civic responsibility needs to include being accountable for one's behavior. Suspension is a sanction that holds students accountable.  The fact that this sanction has only been used 78 times in ten years speaks to the previous post (Restoring Responsibility in the JMU Community: Alcohol and the Quest for Excellence, Integrity and Mutual Respect)  "what we are willing to tolerate" thinking and this thinking needs to change if JMU is to accomplish the goal of Transforming the Alcohol Culture.

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