This week’s blog post is from Natalie Morton, the Graduate Assistant for the Student Advocacy and Accountability Office here at LSU. She will graduate May 2013 and is looking forward to the next chapter of her life. Natalie was born and raised in South Louisiana and is a die hard LSU fan! She is here to help you understand the functions, policies, and processes of this office while advocating for your students on a day to day basis!
Student Advocacy and Accountability – what does that even mean? Our office is one unit within the Office of the Dean of Students. Our primary responsibility is to support students in their personal, academic, and social environment. We serve two different, yet collaborative, functions. The first (student advocacy) we serve as a point of contact for students of concern, students who are struggling, or are in need of support. These students are referred to the C.A.R.E. team (Communicate. Assess. Refer. Educate) where staff identify and respond to students in crisis, distress, or of concern and collaborate inter-departmentally to provide resources and support to the student. This program is focused on the intervention and prevention of behaviors that interfere with student success.
The second area of focus is accountability. We hold students accountable to the LSU Code of Student Conduct, this is the document that establishes and enforces conduct standards for all LSU students and student organizations. This code addresses both behavioral and academic integrity concerns. When an alleged violation has occurred, a student attends an administrative meeting, focused on investigating the incident. Through this meeting, we provide educational assistance and craft an appropriate educational response.
One of the major hurdles of a college student is to achieve balance between their new found freedoms and academic demands in a collegiate environment. Whether your student is living at home, on campus, or within the surrounding community, they are now responsible for all choices and academic performance. We encourage you to be an engaged partner with the University and your students as they navigate this new environment. As administrators, we want to provide advice or resources to you as an involved parent:
- Stay aware and engaged with what is happening in your student’s collegiate and personal environment
- Be mindful of changes that may occur in your student’s attitude, behavior, or personality. For example, if you know your student is going through a new member period of an organization and you observe any of the behaviors listed below or notice your student becoming overly uncomfortable, there may be additional factors at play in the organization.
- Pay attention to indications that a student may be in distress:
- Class absences
- Failing academically
- Alcohol violations
- Changes in behavior, eating, sleeping patterns
- Relationship issues
The Student Advocacy and Accountability Office is here to partner with you and your student(s) to provide support and resources for the most successful path at LSU.