Stanishich Expulsion Leads to Policy Review
The expulsion of Conservatory sophomore and international student Zoran Stanishich on October 16 has prompted two actions by the College: an advisement for Safety and Security to seek outside legal counsel regarding the accessibility of the no trespass list, which is currently only available to faculty members and an internal assessment of its policies and procedures concerning the dismissal of international students.
Stanishich’s case, which involved town residents on the “no trespass” list, raised questions across campus. Many had never heard of the list, which Safety and Security claims to have for inter-office use. Others asked how one gets on the list, what trespassing entails and whether making the list available to students would aid campus security. Safety and Security plans to discuss these queries and others with legal counsel.
The College administration plans to review its own practices as well in light of the recent dismissal. “The conversations that have begun have happened at the case management meetings [of Honor Committee and Judicial and Community Board] we have every week,” said Dean of Students Linda Gates.
When asked whether this review of policy stems from a concern that the College dealt unfairly with Stanishich, Gates replied, “No. Any time we have an unusual situation that occurs, we often review it [and ask], ‘Well, what do we do the next time?’” Because an international student has never been expelled before, there has “never been an occurrence to act this way; therefore, there’s never been a review.”
International students can enter and study in the United States with a valid F-1 visa. If their visa is terminated due to expiration, graduation or dismissal, the Department of Homeland Security grants them 15 days in which to leave the country. However, the College provided Stanishich with an optional plane ticket before this window of time had ended.
“Nothing should be taken lightly in a post-Virginia Tech world,” said Gates, referencing the student massacre last April. “Particular cases dictate certain responses.”
When asked about the College’s handling of this situation, Vice President of College Relations Al Moran and Associate Dean of the Conservatory Marci Alegant also mentioned the Virginia Tech shootings and other campus threats in order to emphasize vigilance in the changing landscape of college security.
Several administrators mentioned plans for the future. “We’re currently working with an emergency response team,” said Gates.
President Marvin Krislov, who stated he only knows about Stanishich’s case “third-hand,” spoke about his involvement in the proceedings: “This is the first time in anyone’s memory of something like this happening. So one of the things you do when you have something like this occur [is ask] ‘Did we do it as well as we should have?’ and ‘Are there things we want to do better or differently next time?’ That conversation may have already started taking place but I haven’t really been deeply involved with it because I’m still looking at the appeal.”
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 binds administrators and faculty members to a keep a student’s academic performance, records and behavior confidential. In addition, the College’s policies are designed to protect a student’s privacy. Because of these restrictions, the student body may never be as fully informed as it would like to be concerning unusual situations such as Stanishich’s case.
Krislov explained the sensitive nature of his administrative position in this situation: “Because of the federal privacy laws I can’t tell you what I decide about him. He can tell you what I’ve decided about him.”
Conservatory Dean David H. Stull articulated the same thoughts. Because the information leading up to decisions made by the administration cannot be fully explained to the student body, the various offices must bear the “burden” of critical responses, he said.