The number of student behavior misconduct cases this year has been growing closer to the number of academic incidents, causing concern among campus officials.
Brandon Brod, conduct educator and hate incidents response coordinator, said while the number of misconduct cases has been consistent for the past 10 years, the nature of the cases has changed. This year the committee has dealt with 13 behavioral cases, nearly as many as academic, which is unusual, Brod said.
“The Student and Faculty Conduct Committee mostly deals with academic matters: cheating, crib notes, plagiarism,” he said. “But they do occasionally deal with behavioral matters, although only the more serious matters.”
There were two cases this year involving students who threatened a faculty member or teaching assistant which both started as a dispute over the student’s grade in a course. The students then sent the TA or faculty member “vulgar and very threatening” e-mails, Brod said.
In both cases, it was a male student who threatened a female TA and faculty member. The police were called in, and formal charges were filed.
“These were two very serious threats,” Brod said. “The committee is very concerned about what they see of the rise of threats against faculty and TA’s.”
Other cases included a student stealing and forging a prescription from Student Health Service and a student who stole another student’s paper from the department office and submitted it as original work. Also, a student working in the Financial Aid office stole a financial aid check and cashed it, Brod said.
Since Fall Quarter, 23 students have been suspended from UCSB for academic misconduct.
This year, a total of 36 cases were brought to Associate Dean of Students Joseph Navarro, who handled nine of them. The Student and Faculty Conduct Committee reviewed the other 27 cases. Eleven others are still pending.
The Student Faculty Conduct Committee is composed of an equal number of appointed students – mostly undergraduates – and faculty members.
Navarro and Brod work with the committee to handle cases of academic and behavioral misconduct at UCSB. Faculty members or instructors may choose to deal with the case on their own by failing the student in the course, or they can choose to have Navarro or the committee review the case.
If the instructor or faculty member decides to refer the matter to the committee, then the committee holds a hearing to investigate the issue. Upon investigation, the committee could recommend a penalty if they found the student guilty, or refer the complaint back to the instructor.
Normally, the standard penalty given for academic misconduct is a suspension for two quarters, though “there isn’t a rubber stamp that we use for every case,” Brod said.
“It’s up to Vice Chancellor Michael Young to actually decide the penalty. The committee and I can only give a recommendation,” Navarro said.