College Conduct & COVID

Your willingness to take the time to connect has proven meaningful for yourselves, others with whom you interact, members reading the debriefs, and to myself. 
Five months have passed since the news of a novel coronavirus began to leak from China and its effects continue to resonate worldwide. And though I'd venture to peg the proximity of March 11th as the time frame when significant changes began to take shape in the United States, it is still hard to conceptualize that time has simultaneously dragged and accelerated.
As you likely know if you're reading this, ASCA's initial response was to lean on its strengths—its members and the value of their connections with one another. Data have shown for years that attendance at events and engagement with other resources is largely driven by members' desire to be in each other's company for networking, shared resources, and genuine connection with others who understand our work, all of which were of heightened importance when faced with more questions than answers about the future of higher education, specifically conduct work. 
Over the course of the past five weeks, nearly 400 total participants joined in on one or more of 40 ASCA Chats that covered far more than the 23 prescribed themes that had been advertised as topics of conversations. Initially, I was able to share daily wrap-ups in the form of articles posted to the ASCA blogs, but as we got further into the weeks of chats the topics simultaneously got further from the intended topics and began to more organically develop each day as participants connected in whatever manner was most needed that day. Though the commitment to idea and resource sharing remained, the initiative evolved in unforeseen, yet positive ways.
That was the whole goal of this project though—to create an engaging space where conduct professionals were safe to share their successes and challenges, hopes and worries. Five weeks later, we still don't have many of the answers to questions we continue to uncover, but here are a few of the things we do know as a result of these Chats:
  • Conduct professionals truly are the behavioral experts on their campuses. Now is the time to own that fact, even if it means applying your skills in new ways or dealing with the discomfort of making your skillsets known to others. 
  • Though we don't yet know the full scope of it, higher education will never be the same.
  • Regardless of proximity, genuine care for students remains at the center of our purpose.
  • Resiliency and grit are not just concepts we seek to develop in our students, but characteristics members of our field continue to actively demonstrate.
  • Self-care is vital and can take any number of forms. Do whatever works best for your own mental health.
  • The connections between ASCA and its members remains one of the field's largest assets. Your membership and willingness to engage with each other and with us mean more than you know.
Of course, there were a number of more nuanced logistics talked through too such as board hearings, compliance, sexual misconduct, organization investigations, social distancing enforcement, residential policies, sanctioning, technology use, academic integrity, classroom management, trauma, resource equity, staffing and supervision, community MOUs, virus control, enrollment, finances, caseloads, and much, much more. Your willingness to take the time to connect has proven meaningful for yourselves, others with whom you interact, members reading the debriefs, and to myself. 
Thank you for humoring me by allowing me to hijack the ASCA blog platform for the past month and for engaging with both the blog content and in the dialogues. I have found the conversations immensely valuable and hope you have too. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog content written by members like you! 
Any opinions, stated or implied, are those of the author and do not reflect the official view, position, or endorsement of the Association for Student Conduct Administration.

Photo © Getty Images


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