A new peer discipline board, made up of students from different residence halls across campus, will now hear alcohol appeals from both Greek and non-Greek housing, said an assistant dean of campus life. Before this year, the Residential Living Commission only heard alcohol appeals for non-Greek housing, said Barbara Hawkins, associate director of Residential Living. The commission had three student-representatives from each non-Greek dorm, she said.
Alcohol violation appeals from Greek housing were heard by one of the assistant deans of Campus Life, James Parker or Shelley Story, Parker said.
“We wanted to make it a more streamlined process,” Parker said. “It gives people the chance to have a jury of their peers look at their situation.”
Appeals will be heard by a committee of five to eight students from the peer discipline board, and there will be a residential services staff member present at each meeting, Parker said. An appeal will need a majority vote from the student board to either be overturned or upheld, he said.
Board members were selected based on their standings with the university and essays submitted with their applications, Parker said. The board consists of 32 students, and there are two members from all but one dorm on campus, he said.
The only dorm without representation is Brachman Hall because of a lack of applicants, Hawkins said.
“We tried our best to make it a wide group of students,” Parker said. “We wanted to make it an equal chance for everyone.”
Parker said the board is not designed to change policy but rather, it is in place to uphold the student code of conduct.
“I do expect that the students will be fair, and they will make appropriate and necessary decisions,” Parker said.
Sparkle Greenhaw, a research assistant in the Alcohol and Drug Education Center, said 392 alcohol violations were written last year.
Of those violations, 114 were reviewed for appeal, Hawkins said, though the number of appeals granted last year is not available.
Many of the violations the board overturned last year were for people who received violations when they did not know their roommates had alcohol in their rooms, said Cameron Dobson, a former member of the Residential Living Commission.
Dobson, a sophomore business major, will serve on the peer discipline board this year and said he enjoyed his experience last year on the commission.
Another board member, freshman premajor Caroline Hirsch, said the goal of the board is to get as much information about the situation as possible and to uphold the alcohol policy.
“That way, all students will be held equally accountable,” Hirsch said. “We’re all a part of the TCU community.”
Ashley Tondu, a junior fashion merchandising major, said she agrees that the type of alcohol appeal process a student goes through shouldn’t depend on where they live.
“Having a group of students hear an appeal is better,” said Tondu, a resident of the Zeta Tau Alpha house. “They’d be more understanding than faculty.”
Parker said he thinks the students on the board are capable of making good decisions.
“If there is a legitimate reason to grant an appeal, I think an appeal will be granted,” Parker said.