Office of Student Standards and Conduct helps students stay on track

Life on a college campus can be a blur, and sometimes students make mistakes.

Sometimes those mistakes are conduct violations and students are led to the Office of Student Standards and Conduct (OSSC), where those situations are resolved.

But visiting OSSC is not about taking a trip "to the principal's office"; it's about creating a partnership though which students can acknowledge mistakes they make and learn how to fix them going forward.

"Our office strives to protect the rights of our students while asking them to hold themselves accountable," said David Stuart, director of the OSSC. "Our goal is to treat students fairly and with respect while hearing their side of the story."

That means that all students who visit OSSC go through the same process. The staff gets to know every student, holds discussions about every students' side of the story, discusses alleged charges and how standards apply and offers the option to accept or not accept responsibility for those charges.

At each stage of the process, students are empowered to speak on their own behalf.

One of the most important ways that the OSSC helps students change their behavior for the better is through amnesty. Students who recognize that their use of drugs or alcohol might put them at risk can visit the OSSC before there is a problem. The office will get to know the student and set them up with resources to help.

"It's never about making students feel bad," Stuart said. "It's about intervening on their behalf and preventing them from continuing on a road that's difficult to come back from."

The OSSC, located in Heth 207, is a department of the Office of the Dean of Students, which advocates and supports campus student life.

For students and faculty members seeking help, the office can be reached at 540-831-5321 or

Dec 4, 2015