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The Dean of Students: More than Code of Conduct infractions

Kendal Washington White is the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students office is committed to to supporting students when emergencies happen and to treat students with dignity.
Courtesy Kendal Washington White
Kendal Washington White is the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students office is committed to to supporting students when emergencies happen and to treat students with dignity.

The Dean of Students Office might best be associated with handling Code of Conduct infractions, but there is a lot more to this office than some students realize. 

Kendal Washington White, vice provost for campus life and dean of students, explained what the dean of students’ role is on campus and some recent challenges. 

The Dean of Students Office is in charge of student assistance, senior and provost awards and the code and policy department. Washington White described the office as helping students at their “lowest lows to their highest highs.”

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According to the dean of students website, Student Assistance serves as a central support resource for all students.” 

The office assists students and their families to manage crises, life traumas and other issues that could affect a student’s success. 

 “If you don’t know who to call, always start with the Dean of Students Office,” Washington White said. A staff member is available on most days during walk-in hours and the office is for students as well as parents.

The office is sometimes used as a go-between when there are student and faculty disagreements, especially when free speech issues arise. Washington White explained that sometimes faculty needs extra training in classroom management and other times students need to understand how their behavior is affecting everyone around them.

The University of Arizona Police Department and the Dean of Students Office work together on many issues ranging from student diversion programs to pandemic outbreak readiness. 

UAPD Chief Brian Seastone explained that he meets with Washington White on a weekly basis to discuss issues. 

“Kendal Washington White and I have a close personal relationship,” Seastone said.  

Decisions made are a collaboration with his department and the Dean of Students Office, and the best outcome for the university will be the consensus.

Many students aren’t sure what exactly the dean of students’ role on campus is other than for Code of Conduct violations. 

“I’m not sure who the dean of students is, but they deal with appeals to Code of Conduct violations,” said Nathan Toy, a physiology student. 

Brooklyn Richards, an environmental studies and political science student, said she doesn’t know a lot about the dean of students other than that they are a resource for students and offer tools for academic success. She said she doesn’t know what that looks like other than it being their mission statement.

he First Amendment and the rights of protesters have been a big issue since the Arizona 3 incident last spring and continued into this semester.  Washington White said her office thinks student activism is key to students’ lives and the betterment of the world and the university.

“We should all remember that most social changes and activism that has happened that’s advanced our country is because of protests and demonstrations,” she said. “There are people on this campus who get pissed off when students protest. I can’t believe they work here. What is wrong with you?” 

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Recently, the Dean of Students Office posted their core values, and Washington White said her favorite one is compassion. She said her hope is that students, faculty and staff try to treat each other with more compassion and ask questions before making quick judgments.

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