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Res Hall pilots social justice model

Eighty percent of St. Kate’s first-year students live on campus.
Eighty percent of St. Kate’s first-year students live on campus.
Photo by Bob Handelman.

If a student is caught bullying or drinking underage in a St. Catherine University’s residence hall, a hearing officer will investigate and decide the student’s fate.

Residence life staff members don’t spare students the consequences of their actions. But thanks to St. Kate's Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity summer workshop, they are trying to respect people’s dignity and understand the circumstances that led to the infraction.

“Most of our students never break a policy resulting in a conduct hearing,” says Brett Gray, complex coordinator for St. Mary, Stanton and Crandall halls (all of which house first-year students). “But we do have a judicial process in place.”

Gray is helping pilot a social justice model for residence hall violations this school year. He participated in the 2011 Myser workshop with Severa Krueger, complex coordinator for Rauenhorst and Morrison halls, which serve sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The duo combined the principles of Catholic Social Teaching with an understanding of college women’s social and emotional development to craft a new disciplinary approach. “The Myser workshop gave us the opportunity to really understand the values behind Catholic identity,” Gray says.

A caring approach is important, he explains. “So, instead of just saying, ‘You did this, here’s your punishment,’ we’re going to say, ‘Let’s talk’ and develop a relationship with the student so we can find out what triggered the behavior in the first place.”

 Read more about the Myser workshop in "Circles of Meaning," SCAN February 2012.

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March 9, 2012 by Pauline Oo

See also: Catholic Identity, Social Justice, Students