One of my favorite movies is Return of the King and I saw the movie just as I’d moved to Monterey Bay, CA in 2003. I think I cried during most of it. So many great scenes, quotes and messages. Overwhelming.
I’ll make no apology that I’ll writing at length about the movie, but I thought I’d start small with our old pal, Gimli.
I have a bit of a reputation when it comes to conduct: I don’t evict students easily. I’m always looking at the small chance of success. Can this student turn it around? Can they have that small chance of success?
Here’s what I base my decision on when it comes to student conduct and if I’m going to evict them:
Is the violation egregious? If the violation would have caused damage that would forever change someone’s life (or did), something irrecoverable, then I would evict.
Timmy throws a can of soup from his residence on to a street, hitting a car driving in the opposite direction. Because this could have cause irrevocable harm, as well as generating a felony, the student is evicted.
Is the student remorseful? If the student understands and demonstrates sorrow or responsibility about the event, I’m more likely to not evict. The regret must be clearly demonstrated. I do this by having a student do three things:
- I have the student write (at least) a two page paper explaining the events of the incident and what life changes s/he are going to make.
- I have the student perform community service; there is a community debt that needs to be repaid (if the student vandalized property, he would work with our maintenance team, and he would need to learn the maintenance team’s names as well as where they are from, background, etc.)
- The student would need to interview at least 2 people on campus who could help the student engage in leadership opportunities.
If the fail in these endeavors, I’m more likely to evict the student.
Is the student involved? I should have kept records over these 8 years. But when I ask students that are involved in multiple drug offenses, “What are you involved in on campus?” 99 times out 100, they say, “Nothing. I’m not involved in anything.” Because the student is not contributing to the community, it leads me to evict the student. And I have to think, how do I fail getting students involved?
I think that students need to learn, grow and develop and facing an eviction can lead to a significant life change. I’ve had students embrace sobriety, get involved on campus, and recover from the mistakes they’ve made.
I’ve also had students that I’ve had hope in, blow it. I have gone to bat for them, hoping they would take the higher road, and days later I’ve had to serve them with a summons for another violation and then, soon enough, they were evicted.