SSA director promotes accountability over discipline

Student Standards and Accountability disciplines students who get out of hand, but they do so with good intentions.

Adam Jussel, the director of Student Standards and Accountability, said a main goal of the organization is “to help students adequately prepare for their life after being a Coug.”

Student Standards is first and foremost a disciplinarian group, but it hopes to facilitate partnership and cooperation with students, he said.

“Yes, we value integrity. Yes, we value authenticity,” Jussel said. “But we also care for our students.”

He assumed his position this year after a series of departmental shifts within the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment. Previously he was with WSU’s Attorney General’s office.

Jussel said he plans to take a more proactive, student-focused approach by making changes big and small. He said those changes will affect everything from Student Standards policy to the language used in letters to students.

“Our office is pretty much entirely new,” Jussel said of the Student Standards faculty.

Joining them are Associate Director Deborah Baker, Program Supervisor Kim Barrett, and two graduate assistants.

Jussel said his first year as director is a good chance “to take a good grasp of what you do well and what the gaps are.”

He was enthusiastic about his opportunity to improve Student Standards policies.

“A lot of the changes we’re making this year are a result of the alcohol and drug task force,” Jussel said.

President Elson S. Floyd assembled the task force last year after freshman Kenny Hummel died of alcohol poisoning on the Pullman campus.

Comprised of 17 representatives from WSU and the Pullman community, the task force targets high-risk drinking and drug use among WSU students.

One member of the task force is Melynda Huskey, WSU dean of students. Huskey said the task force made a list of recommendations for preventing drug and alcohol related incidents, none of which have resulted in policy change.

“The task force made recommendations to the president and it’s up to the president to decide which policies he wants to enact,” she said.

Jussel said Title IX-related incidents are another area of concern for Student Standards. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 bans discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs.

Kimberly Anderson is the lead coordinator of WSU’s Title IX Committee. Anderson said the committee works with Student Standards to investigate and respond to allegations of sexual harassment.

“We really want to learn about that conduct from students so that the university can respond,” she said.

Jussel said many students are unfamiliar with the Group Accountability Statement, the WSU policy whereby a student group can be held accountable for the actions of individual members. He said it is important for all students to understand what the policy entails.

He said he would like to dispel the notion that Student Standards acts as a criminal court. While its focus is discipline, Student Standards does not have the power to try students legally, Jussel said.

“That’s not what we’re here to deliver,” he said.

Jussel said students who cooperate with Student Standards receive the fairest repercussions for their misconduct.

“Something we love to see is when students take accountability for their actions,” he said.