In response to concerns about lack of due process for students within the UCF Office of Student Conduct process, UCF Student Government Association's attorney general launched a campaign Friday with a video to spread awareness about his judicial advising services.
SGA's attorney general and judicial advisor, Kyler Gray, junior public administration major, is responsible for advising students during hearings for university sanctioned boards such as the Office of Student Conduct.
“The goal of this [campaign] is to spread awareness so that students know when they do get that letter from student conduct, that they have somebody they can depend on,” Gray said. “So that they’re not going through it alone.”
The video — posted on Facebook — mocks the style of television advertising for law firms. It includes a skit that tells students to contact Gray for appeals in grades, student conduct, administration issues and more.
Following a student conduct violation, an accused student receives a letter by email listing the accusations reported against him or her, as well as the hearing date. Gray said the most common violations involve alcohol, marijuana and academic integrity.
Gray said before his assignment to attorney general, the letter did not let the student know they have the option to be represented by the judicial advisor. Gray argued this as a violation of the student’s due process.
When asked to respond to Gray’s campaign, Director of the Office of Student Conduct Michael Gilmer said he was not available to interview at the time.
Freshman Dominick Esposita, 18, said the UCF Office of Student Conduct did not initially notify him of his right to be represented by Gray after he was found drinking in his dorm with other students in June.
After Esposita received the letter detailing his violations from the office, his father researched who could represent him in the hearing and told him to find Gray.
“When I got in trouble, I didn’t know anything about what was going to happen," Esposita said. "If my dad wasn’t the one helping me and telling me what to do, I first of all would have never found Kyler and second of all would not have even known that I had to get back with the Office of Student Conduct,” Esposita said.
The officer in Esposita’s case wrote he was in violation of possessing alcohol, consuming alcohol, possessing marijuana and breaking the housing agreement of the on-campus Hercules community. But the marijuana violation was dropped because Gray said the officer’s only evidence was the alleged smell of marijuana from Esposita’s pillow.
Without Gray’s help, Esposita said he would not have been able to fight the incorrect marijuana accusation. He said he was sanctioned for the alcohol-related charges and was found to have violated the housing agreement.
Gray plans to continue his campaign by tabling frequently and passing out business cards to students which, according to Gray, is an unprecedented advertising strategy for the judicial advisor.
“It’s a very terrifying process to do by yourself," Gray said. "Everyone makes mistakes, we really want to work on being there for students."
If a student receives a violation from the Office of Student Conduct, they can contact Gray in his SGA office on the second floor of the Student Union.