Officers advocate for students, student conduct officer says

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By Faith Duarte

Three student conduct officers serve to protect students’ right of due process, student conduct officer Manuel Flores said.

Flores, Amy Chaye Peña and Tracy Floyd serve as student conduct officers in the office of student affairs in Room 309 of Fletcher Administration Center, which is overseen by Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of academics and student engagement.

“We are primarily a student advocate, but then we also hold students responsible for their conduct,” Flores said. “Conduct as in obeying the law, obeying board policy, obeying the student code of conduct.”

Flores said the student conduct umbrella has multiple components, including student complaints, petitions, nonacademic misconduct and concerns pertaining to Strategies of Behavioral Intervention.

SOBI addresses “concerning or threatening behavior” of a student.

“Behavior is observed that might require the attention of a counselor or an adviser,” Flores said.

Student conduct officers oversee nonacademic misconduct while academic departments oversee academic misconduct, he said.

Flores said he oversees nonacademic complaints, Floyd handles SOBI complaints, and Peña handles petitions.

“They (students) have the right to complain about it and bring resolution to that complaint,” he said.

Flores said any police reports made as a result of completing an incident report ultimately go to Dr. Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs.

“Depending on the severity of the concern, they always have the option to, if they feel it’s a police issue, they can do it at any time,” he said.

During the investigatory process of a complaint, Flores said student conduct officers examine possible police reports that may have been filed, interview witnesses and review testimony from the complainant and the defendant.

“I am glad that we work at an institution that has their ear to the ground in terms of appropriate behavior, and our role is to try to generate awareness of how important behavior is … as part of the academic process,” Flores said. “We advocate proper behavior. Teachers do it; administrators do it, so I feel fortunate that we work at a place where that’s on the (front) burner.”

“We want this to be an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning,” Flores said. “And conduct, on the part of all of us, is an important factor in that.”

For more information, call the student affairs office at 210-486-0930.


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