Pubdate: 07 Oct 1998
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: (c)  1998 Mercury Center


COLLEGES should treat undergraduates as adults, not kindergartners,
when it comes to binge drinking, cheating or other campus crimes

Prospective students should be routinely informed that those found
guilty of violating campus rules or criminal laws will have their
name, offense, penalty and personal response (if desired) routinely
published by the college.

That's the adult way to do it. Simply giving colleges the option of
sending notes home for drug or alcohol offenses overlooks the
legitimate interest others may have in this information -- roommates,
other students, teachers, and counselors, for example.

In some instances, going public could encourage constructive help from
friends of those found guilty. In others, it might reduce the risk of
repeat offenses. In any case, the entire community would gain a
clearer understanding of the standards for behavior on campus.

The same procedures should be followed with other adults on campus,
professors and staff members. Stanford did just that in more than a
dozen faculty disciplinary convictions over more than 20 years, with
salutary results. Now, thanks to the lawyers, most faculty cases are
shrouded in secrecy. Rumors abound, and reputations are strangled on
the grapevine.

Over time, routine publication of campus convictions provides the
public a way of gauging the institution's disciplinary standards and
fairness. Even more important, it makes it easy to clear the names of
the vast majority of alumni never found guilty of breaking college

As Stanford news director, I fielded two or three dozen inquiries a
year about alleged campus misconduct by alumni. None could be
officially cleared.

- -- Robert W. Beyers, Palo Alto

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Checked-by: Rich O'Grady