Judicial Affairs cracking down on behavior

The Office of Student Judicial Affairs announced this week an increased attention on aggressive behavior, insubordination and/or disrespect for authority and other inappropriate behavior. Effective immediately, there will be "zero tolerance" for certain crimes.

"This is a personal plea and warning to any students who are in violation of student conduct," said Dean of Student Affairs David Ponton.

The university has always had a zero tolerance policy that states: "Zero tolerance means zero chances this applies to inappropriate aggressive behavior, destruction or damages to state property, insubordination and/or disrespect for authority, violation of housing rules, dangerous drugs and/or alcohol and dangerous weapons and explosives."

One reason for the crackdown is because of the number of fights on campus.

So far in March, there have been six reports to GSUPD for fighting, distributing the peace, battery and domestic violence. Last month, there was only four reports of similar cases.

GSU Police Chief Howard Caviness said on warmer days, there were two or three fights a day, and it usually involves women. He said the fights can easily escalate from someone pulling out a handgun to shots fired to someone using a Taser— all scenarios the department doesn’t want to face.

"I don’t want any student to go to jail, at all," said Caviness. "I’m just trying to secure Grambling from the violence, that’s all."

He said normally, when there is a fight between two students the police have to break it up. Those students would have to go to Judicial Affairs and face the university, but it stays off the students criminal record.

Then, tickets or stay away orders were given for fights. However, due to the higher number of incidents, the police can no longer use that step and some students must be arrested.

The GSU Police Chief said fights are usually motivated by money, drugs or the opposite sex.

"I really think fighting is stupid," said Arlisha White, a social work major from Winnsboro. "It’s stupid and pointless."

For students having issues with others, the university offers mutual arbitrators and a conflict resolution panel to resolve problems.

Ponton said students should utilize this program instead of taking matters into their own hands because if they do they will receive consequences. He said students who fight won’t be GSU students for long.

If a student is involved in an incident, they must go through due process with Judicial Affairs with a fair hearing and a chance to appeal the decision.

Beverly Crawford, the director of Judicial Affairs, said the situation is cut-and-dry, ‘you fight and you go home.’

She said that would be a violation of student’s rights and everyone will go through the process regardless of the situation.

Along with the enhanced policy, Ponton said he is requiring all students to carry student IDs and/or State IDs in case they are stopped by residential life or the campus police. It also stated in the university student handbook.

"We’ve been very lenient, to keep students in school," said Ponton.

"It’s to a point where we are having habitual fights and we can’t continue to do so, the zero tolerance has gone into effect immediately," Ponton said.