Peer Review Board
The Housing and Residential Life (HRL) Peer Review Board is designated to hear cases involving alleged instances of misconduct by students living in the residence halls. The HRL Peer Review Board consists of at least five justices who review a case, listen to testimony, make a decision regarding an individual’s responsibility and assign sanctions as appropriate.
Why do we have a Peer Review Board?
The basic philosophy of discipline at Texas State University is one of education and the belief that students can learn from their mistakes and choose to change. The community floor agreements, along with university and residential hall policies help determine the type of environment that is acceptable for students. This includes fostering an atmosphere of respect for the rights of others, responsibility for one’s actions, and encouraging self-discipline and community accountability.
The discipline process focuses on the growth and development of students charged with violating policies by determining why students make the decisions they do and building an understanding of the consequences that accompany such decisions. If a student is determined to have violated a policy, appropriate sanctions that encourage better decision-making are utilized as a means of education.
The formal responsibility for discipline rests with the University and the Board of Regents. This responsibility and implementation has been delegated to the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office chooses to make the Department of Housing and Residential Life (DHRL) a designee for adjudicating discipline cases that involve students living in residence halls. The DHRL Peer Review Board was created as an alternative to the traditional Administrative Review currently in practice.
Whether a discipline case is processed by the Dean of Students, a Residence Director, or the DHRL Peer Review Board, the end remains the same: to direct behavior into acceptable patterns and to protect the rights of all students. The unique advantage of the Peer Review Board lies in its ability to influence the attitudes and subsequent behavior of other students through a formal process. Peer influence, exercised through the Peer Review Board process, can often be more effective in redirecting the behavior patterns of students than any other method of discipline within the institution.
The success of the Peer Review Board is contingent upon the dedication of its members to achieve a suitable living environment while affording individuals maximum personal freedom within institutional and DHRL community guidelines. Service on the board is considered a volunteer position.
- Members must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA and have no current/outstanding conduct cases.
- Currently live on campus (or have lived on campus the previous year).
- Participate in Peer Review Board trainings.
- Commit to and attend all assigned meetings of the Peer Review Board. Your attendance affects whether there is a quorum to hold a meeting. Meetings are typically held once a week, dependent on schedules of justices and advisors.
- Make decisions that are fair and based on the information presented during the Peer Review Board meeting.
- Keep information discussed and gathered in the Peer Review Board meetings confidential!
- Training to help you better understand why your peers make the decisions they do.
- Training regarding university and Residential Life hall policies and their rationale as needed.
- Training over procedures for running a Peer Review Board meeting.
- Practice adjudicating sample cases before adjudicating a real student case.
- Approval from your advisor and the Assistant Director for Conduct to proceed with conducting a Peer Review Board meeting.
- Ongoing training over pertinent topics related to the discipline process.
- Accountability. The Assistant Director for Conduct and the Associate Director for Residential Life will be reviewing the cases you decide and may periodically ask you questions in regards to your decisions. This is not meant to undermine your authority in decision-making but is a way to better understand the Peer Review Board process.
- Great volunteer and leadership experience to add to your resume regardless of your career path.
Since the Dean of Students and the Department of Housing and Residential Life (DHRL) has delegated the authority for Peer Review Board operation, certain institutional guidelines regarding discipline must be observed by student boards. Violation of these standards is cause for an individual’s removal from the Peer Review Board and possible disciplinary action.
- It is the responsibility of each justice to observe the following ethical standards:
- Information regarding any student’s disciplinary status is not to be discussed with anyone outside the Peer Review Board meetings. Likewise, any information given in confidence at a Peer Review Board meeting should not be discussed outside the meeting.
- The disciplinary record of any student is not to be disclosed or discussed outside the Peer Review Board meetings.
- In a Peer Review Board meeting, justices are to refrain from making accusations or statements of any kind that cannot be supported.
- In all disciplinary cases, the vote of each justice is confidential. The vote of the entire Peer Review Board, however, is shared with the student when he or she is informed of the Peer Review Board’s decision. Information regarding majority and minority opinions should be shared with the student and are to be recorded in the minutes of the conference (not necessary if audio taped).
- It is particularly important to remember that justices become, in a sense, role models for the other students. Therefore, it is especially important that justices both uphold and obey the regulations and policies of the University and DHRL. The following measures have been designed to promote the operational effectiveness of Peer Review Boards. These measures will be implemented in cases where a justice is alleged to have violated University or DHRL policies or when a justice has been accused of a breach in ethical considerations as listed in section I.
- If a justice is found by the University discipline process to be responsible for a violation of university or DHRL regulations, or found in violation of the ethical standards listed in Section I, and following any appeals that may be related to the charge, the justice shall have the opportunity to inform the Peer Review Board about the case. Additionally, within a week of the final decision of the case, the Peer Review Board on which the justice serves will be notified of the decision reached by DHRL or the Dean of Students.
- The Assistant Director for Conduct, in consultation with the Student Conduct Graduate Assistant, will determine if removal from the Peer Review Board is appropriate.
- For reasons of excessive absence, a justice may also be asked to discuss the problem with the Student Conduct Graduate Assistant who will then make the decision about the continuation of the justice’s service.