Approximately 15 Orientation Leader (OA) applicants were removed from the OA leader selection committee’s final list of chosen applicants due to past disciplinary conduct, primarily alcohol violations.
Martin Crawford, senior coordinator of the OA program, announced the 2010 OA leaders on Mar. 23.
There were 190 applicants for the position, an increase of approximately 50 people from last year. Out of those applicants 99 were accepted. However, the final number of leader position offers emailed to applicants was approximately 85. Six of the fourteen denied applicants were disqualified due to past disciplinary conduct including alcohol violations, stolen campus property and in a few instances, possession of illegal substances other than alcohol.
Every year, the selection committee, which consists of students and faculty, turns down some applicants due to previous disciplinary misconduct. The last step of the selection process is looking at “different lists on campus for disciplinary issues,” Crawford said. Along with substance-free opening violations, students may be disqualified if there are any previous alcohol violations, J-Board hearings, et cetera on record.
Nick Frederick PO ‘11, had been accepted twice and served once as an OA leader, declining the position his sophomore year to be a sponsor. This year, he was denied.
“I was shocked this time around when I was told that I was not accepted as an OA leader,” he said. “As far as I was aware, the only blanket rule that immediately disqualified someone from being a leader was breaking substance-free opening, which was something I did not do.”
Frederick was not the only student unaware of the Orientation Adventure program’s rules on previous disciplinary conduct violations. Many previous leaders did not know that all alcohol policy violations were taken into account in the decision-making process and were surprised to receive an email of denial.
Than Volk PO ’10, a three-time OA leader and two-time OA head leader, has served on the OA leader selection committee for the past two years.
“[My] presumption was that beyond a sub-free violation, you’d have to have done something that seriously compromised your ability to lead, like breaking the law, or perhaps having an established record of breaking school policy to be denied leader,” Volk said. “It, however, appears that a number of applicants were denied leader because of single policy violations that I don’t think have any bearing on their ability to leader.”
However, on the OA application, it does ask students who have had any previous disciplinary issues to contact the office.
“On the application, it says on the bottom, if you have any issues, your records are going to be looked at, so come to us ahead of time and let us know what it is and you can negotiate it,” Crawford said. “This year we had a handful of people who did not even talk to us at all.”
Volk noted the statement on the application, but said he considered this insufficient warning.
“[I found] this to be a far reach from notifying them that single policy violations that have little bearing on their ability to lead will likely disqualify their candidacy, nor do I think sufficient space has been provided for such candidates to explain the circumstances of such issues,” he said.
Nothing has officially changed in the OA leader selection process, as they have always considered past alcohol violations. However, both students implied it seemed less severe policy violations were deemed sufficient to justify denial to the program this year.
“As a student who is well qualified and has experience as an OA leader, who broke no laws and respects the purpose of the school’s policy, I was denied the opportunity to be a leader next year because of a lack of communication from Orientation Adventure about what automatically disqualifies a student from a position,” Frederick said.