Per a recent announcement made by Cluster Deans, current Seniors can now apply to become one of the two Discipline Committee (DC) Representatives per cluster. There are currently no DC Representatives to guide students through their DCs.
Although classes began on September 10, elections for DC Representatives will occur October 8, according to an email sent by David Gardner, Pine Knoll Cluster Dean, to Pine Knoll Seniors. While it is unclear whether or not a student has sat before a DC without a DC Representative in this past month, Tyren Dandridge, Flagstaff Cluster Dean, wrote that “in order for the DC to achieve its goals of education and fairness, the student voice in the questioning and deliberation periods is critical” in an email to Seniors in Flagstaff on September 28.
Gardner and Dandridge declined to comment for this article. Susan Esty, Abbott Cluster Dean, confirmed that the only disciplinary difference from previous years is the fact that DC Representative elections have not yet taken place and pointed to the Blue Book for the full policy.
According to the 2021-2022 Blue Book, after an investigation is conducted and it has been concluded that a student commits a major offense(s), the DC may convene. All members of the DC offer their point of view and recommendations on the relevant and fitting response. In most cases, the members of the DC include the Cluster Dean, a student and faculty DC Representative, the House Counselor or Day Student Advisor, and one of the Cluster Co-Presidents.
The Blue Book states, “During deliberations, all members of the DC are encouraged to offer their perspectives and suggestions as the group comes to consensus on an appropriate response. Although consensus is the goal and usual outcome of a DC, the dean, who serves as the chair of the committee, has responsibility for all final decisions except Suspension or Dismissal. In such cases, the committee’s recommendation is passed on to the Dean of Students, who reviews and finalizes the decision.”
According to Tyren Dandridge, Flagstaff Cluster Dean, student DC Representatives support their cluster-mates and maintain Andover’s expectations and rules. In an email to Seniors in Flagstaff, Dandridge outlined the qualities of a DC Representative: being honest, reliable, compassionate, empathetic, trustworthy, and discreet.
“Each DC rep must:.. Offer to meet with a student before the DC in order to familiarize themself with the specific situation at hand, to lend support to the student, and to talk through the DC process with the student… Offer support to your peer who broke a rule, but still maintain the distance necessary to make an informed decision about how the Discipline Committee should respond to the rule violation.” wrote Dandridge.
Kate Horton ’22, one of the Abbot Cluster Co-Presidents, hopes that during hearings, the DC will focus on the goal of improvement rather than one focused on punishment or guilt.
“All that I can offer up is that, as far as the DC process, I think that what’s truly important is finding an improvement-focused goal rather than a punishment/guilt-focused goal. We all want our Andover students to be happy and healthy on this campus and I think that our DC process should prioritize making sure that all students should work towards bettering themselves even after a rule from the Blue Book has been broken rather than just serving time for one’s wrong.” wrote Horton in an email to The Phillipian.