The recent forum “Policies, Procedures and Pomona,” held in Rose Hills Theatre on Oct. 29, was designed to address student concerns over privacy and procedural matters in policy enforcement.Our problem with this forum is not the nature of what was discussed, or that the conversation occurred at all. It is that the conversation at this point is not productive. The administration stated quite clearly that it was their prerogative to conduct investigations in any way they see fit, and that students are at this point left out in the dark.
The Office of Campus Life has often talked about “consistency” with regard to policy enforcement, and this seems to be one area where the college is open to huge inconsistencies. With nothing set down as a system of investigation, how are students to understand what is consistent with the policy as opposed to what is not consistent?
Such a policy will automatically give rise to inconsistencies, as every dean will simply do what they see fit. It seems to this editorial board that there must be some upper limit on what the deans themselves are willing to do to enforce policy. It already became clear in the forum that deans do not “troll” for policy violations. How far will they go in an open investigation? If these upper limits do not exist, does that mean the deans will place hidden electronic tracking devices on our person? Will they measure the BAC of every student on Sunday mornings before coming into brunch because they have evidence that half of them were drinking a lot the night before? Strip search students as they enter their residence halls?
It might seem absurd, but that is the point. Saying that deans will do anything to investigate policy violations just cannot be true. Surely the deans must have some personal sense of how far they are willing to go to investigate policy violations. Maybe it is very vague. Maybe it isn’t written down anywhere. But surely it still exists. The failure of students (and perhaps even deans, if they have yet to consider it) to understand this limit is what causes such breakdowns in communication and trust between students and administrators.
The point is not that the policy need move in one direction or the other, the point is that a policy that has no limits cannot have clear expectations.