College chose to focus on implementing other recommendations first.
And Danny P. Bicknell ’13, the current Undergraduate Council president, said that conversations are currently lodged at a much more modest point.
In talks with Ad Board Secretary John “Jay” L. Ellison, he has discussed creating a watered-down alternative to the reform committee’s proposal: a student advisory committee that could recommend decisions but not vote on cases.
Bicknell said he does not foresee his proposal being implemented quickly but believes it could find support among administrators.
But Neal suggested that student representation in disciplinary proceedings was unwanted.
“In truth, we have heard from many students that they would not be anxious for other students to have detailed information about themselves or their actions as part of a disciplinary procedure,” wrote Neal, who declined to speak in person or by phone about the Ad Board.
All 30 current members of the Ad Board declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment for this series.
Certainly, not all undergraduates want to be judged by their peers; several students interviewed for this article who have faced or are facing Ad Board proceedings said they would be opposed to the idea.
But supporters of student representation stressed that the process proposed by the reform committee would be optional.
The reform committee’s report read, “Although not universally held, even among students, there is a view on campus that students should be involved in deciding disciplinary cases, as they have a direct understanding of the stresses and demands on their peers.”
Bicknell, who made the issue a plank in his presidential campaign platform last November, said that none of the students he, his running mate, or his campaign staff interviewed expressed opposition to the idea of increased student involvement in the disciplinary process.
JUDGING THE JUDGES
Some experts say they are wary of student representation on disciplinary boards because of the difficulty of properly training undergraduate judges.
Peter F. Lake ’81, a Stetson University professor who specializes in higher education law, said colleges must devote extensive resources to choosing and educating student representatives.
He added that Harvard in particular, which currently follows a “patrician” model in which experienced academics rigorously weigh evidence before coming to a decision, may worry that student representation could dilute the thoroughness of the process.
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