The University of Miami Dean of Students Office and Honor Council do a whole lot more than just investigate violation claims of the University Honor Code.
Led by Dean of Students Dr. Ricardo Hall, the Dean of Students Office is a place where students can go to find a variety of resources ranging from alcohol abuse prevention to religious services.
“I don’t think our students realize just how many programs we offer around the university,” Hall said. “Alcohol and Drug Education, Greek Life programming and oversight of the Chaplain’s Association of religious organizations are all programmed with the Dean of Students Office.”
Religious organizations on and around campus such as the Hillel Jewish Student Center, the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, St. Augustine’s Catholic Student Association and many more are programmed with the University Chaplain’s association, which is overseen by the office.
All 30 of the university’s fraternity and sorority groups also coordinate with it. However, the main programming involves alcohol and drug services.
Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education Nanette Vega is responsible for overseeing alcohol and drug programs around the university.
Pier 21, which stands for Prevention, Intervention, Education and Referral, is one of the programs the Dean of Students Office offers those seeking help from alcohol or drugs.
“If a student is concerned with himself or herself or a friend, they can refer to Pier 21 for help. All information presented is confidential and will not be used against the person,” Vega said. “It is my job to complete a one-hour assessment of the student and provide both on-campus and off-campus resources for help. We can also help students transition into inpatient and outpatient treatment centers.”
Alcoholics Anonymous is held on campus every Wednesday and is facilitated by the Counseling Center. Two peer education groups, Gamma Greeks and UParty, promote alcohol responsibility and are offered to all members of the student population.
However, both the Dean of Students and Honor Council would not be what it is without handling student disciplinary issues.
“If a student is involved in an incident and is a resident on campus, the residential coordinator of their dormitory is responsible for hearing that case,” Vega said. “But if a commuter student is involved in an incident, we will hear these cases.”
Vega also said “high-level” cases such as those involving assault, battery or the issuance of a DUI is heard by the office, which handles the case regardless of where the student lives.
The University of Miami Honor Council is composed of 29 members, 18 who graduated in the spring semester. Responsible for educating the student body on the University Honor Code with events including Academic Integrity Week, the council also investigates and arbitrates alleged violations.
“We’re just trying to get our name out there and hope to get good attendance,” said Rachel Russo, last year’s co-chair of Academic Integrity Week.
Found on the University of Miami’s website, the honor code was ratified in the spring of 1986 at the request of the Undergraduate Student Body Government. It starts by outlining its overall purpose to the undergraduate community, the responsibility of the undergraduate community, jurisdiction of the code and faculty cooperation.
“The Honor Council not only has a practical use at the university, it has a symbolic significance as well,” Hall said. “They are here to make sure the Honor Code not only exists, but that it lives.”