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Hearing boards seek new members

Washington State University’s Community Standards boards are seeking new faculty and staff members from all disciplines at any campus location. 

Current members of the University Conduct Board, the University Appeals Board, and the Academic Integrity Board say the opportunity to contribute to the personal growth of students and fill an important need for the university system is what motivates them to serve. 

No previous experience or qualifications are necessary, as training is provided.

Faculty and staff from all disciplines at any WSU location are encouraged to apply.

“People who serve on these boards care deeply about students, are empathetic, and are firmly interested in helping them be successful,” said TJ Page, hearing boards manager. “Some are doing it because they are interested in this type of work, but most volunteer because they enjoy helping the WSU community.”

Making the WSU community better

The hearing boards are crucial to upholding community standards at WSU, but Page said many people are unaware of the important work they do.

The University Conduct Board hears cases typically involving student behavioral concerns of alleged sexual, gender, or racial discrimination; assault; harassment; hazing; or repeated alcohol and drug offenses. Students who disagree with University Conduct Board decisions can choose to have their case reviewed by the University Appeals Board. The Academic Integrity Hearing Board handles cases involving cheating and plagiarism.

Jeff Elbracht, director of facilities at University Recreation and a University Conduct Board chair, said his group provides students with opportunities to tell their side of the story, and when accountability is warranted, it helps them learn from their experience.

“Students may learn hard lessons, but our goal is to help them learn from their mistakes,” Elbracht said. “By serving on this board, I’m proud knowing that I’m playing an important role in helping make the WSU community better for everyone.”

Phil Mixter, associate professor and associate director of alumni relations in the School of Molecular Biosciences, joined the Academic Integrity Hearing Board to better understand why some students put themselves in risky situations and proactively works with them to avoid policy violations. 

“It’s fulfilling to help show students where the ethical boundary is,” said Mixter, a board chair. “We provide an avenue for students to be heard, and there is a teaching component to it in many cases.”

Members find work rewarding

Mixter said serving on the Academic Integrity Board provides him the opportunity to work with amazing students, faculty, and staff in the WSU community that he otherwise would never meet. In doing so, he broadens his knowledge of issues and activities outside of his own department and college. 

Page is sensitive to peoples’ busy schedules and tries not to overburden board members. Those serving on the University Conduct Board can expect to participate in one or two cases each semester, while the Academic Integrity Board meets about once a month.

“Many hands make light work,” Mixter said. “The personal commitment is very manageable and the staff in the Center for Community Standards work with your schedule.”

Elbracht said serving on the boards is perfect for those who like a challenge. 

“There are some cases that are tough to sort through and involve difficult situations,” he said. “But in the end, we are working to set the students up for future success.”

Visit the Office of the Dean of Students website to learn more about the boards and apply. 

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