Kent State University students and faculty have access to a myriad of resources to help protect themselves, including Student Ombuds and the Office of Student Conduct.
In a Kentwired article, it outlines the resources available to all Kent State students and how they benefit those who choose to utilize them. Student Ombuds assists those who file a grievance or run into any issues with professors or the university.
The word “ombuds” comes from the Swedish word “ombudsman” that means “representative,” according to Student Ombuds Amy Quillin. “Over time it is linked to the idea of ensuring that an institution’s policies, rules, etc. are adhered to,” Quillin said in an email. “I’m a confidential, neutral party within the university.”
Ombuds represents a vessel for students to choose the correct path and steps to take to work through their issues with a professor or the university. However, if the university, a residence hall, or other municipality files an incident report on a student, it is handled by the Office of Student Conduct.
“I didn’t know we had a say in anything,” Ashton Hawkins said.
Hawkins is a junior nursing major who has been a student at Kent State for four years and was unaware of these resources offered to students.
“I think they should advertise it more so that we are aware,” Hawkins said.
The Office of Student Conduct determines if a student is responsible for the actions that are written in the incident report and any sanctions that may be applicable in the disciplinary process.
According to the Office of Student Conduct website, they have two adjudication processes: Sanction Hearings and Hearing Panels. Both of which are digitally recorded.
A Sanction Hearing is conducted by a Hearing Officer and only takes place when the student has claimed responsibility for the actions reported in the incident report. Sanction Hearings are only held to give disciplinary action. If at any point the student decides to not claim responsibility the Student Conduct Convener then schedules a Hearing Panel.
A Hearing Panel consists of an odd number of Hearing Officers who will go into deliberation and decide if the accused student is guilty or not guilty. If found guilty, the student will be given a sanction they must serve by the assigned due date, it is stated on the Office of Student Conduct website.
Sanctions include, but are not limited to: counseling referral, disciplinary dismissal, disciplinary probation, restitution, monetary fine, community service, and others.
Students who receive a sanction have the option to submit an appeal via an online form. If they choose to submit an appeal form, they must do so within seven days. Complainants, also have to option to appeal. The accused student and complainant will be made aware of the decision via the Office of Student Conduct.
In the Ohio Campus Disruption Act, also known as “House Bill 1219,” is described that “the purpose of the law is to protect university students, faculty, staff, and other members of the campus community from crimes of violence committed in the vicinity of the university or upon people or property at the university,” on the Office of Student Conduct website.
The bill protects anyone on or around Kent State’s campus in a court of law. This, along with the other resources offered on Kent State’s campus, provides students and faculty with the tools they may need to protect themselves.
“They should really think about setting up booths at events like Black Squirrel,” Hawkins said. She recommended giving students free shirts or wristbands to raise awareness. “Giving free things to students is the best way to get recognized.”
Contact Samantha Simcox at [email protected]