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UJC Awareness Week works to engage U.Va. community

Week’s theme is “hold yourself to a higher standard"

<p>UJC Awareness Week tabling.</p>

UJC Awareness Week tabling.

This week, the University Judiciary Committee is reaching out to students through UJC Awareness Week, an effort to ensure students are aware of what the organization does, how trial proceedings work and how the committee can be a resource to students.

Student groups like United for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity, the Honor Committee, Sustained Dialogue and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team are also contributing to UJC Awareness Week.

UJC Chair Mitchell Wellman, a fourth-year College student, said the week will help students understand that UJC is a resource to the University community.

“We offer a system that ensures the respect, freedoms and safety of other people through community actors reporting to us,” Wellman said.

This idea is emphasized in the week’s theme, which is “hold yourself to a higher standard.”

“The idea behind the phrase is that you should be holding yourself accountable,” Wellman said. “Part of student self-governance is you’re looking after yourself. It’s an aspect of student self-accountability.”

Wellman said the events also place importance on the standards of conduct, all or most of which many students at the University are unaware.

So far, UJC has tabled at the South Lawn, where students can sign a pledge to follow the 12 standards of conduct, as well as hosted tabling events with ADAPT Monday and Wednesday.

“We see so many students coming through our system who have had problems with alcohol and drugs,” Wellman said. “To be more proactive in the community, the UJC needs to partner with groups like ADAPT who have these campaigns and proactive events.”

The standards — which have been adopted by the University’s Board of Visitors — outline behavior students are prohibited from engaging in. These include more obvious prohibitions such as physical assault, and ones students may not be aware of, such as intentional disruption or obstruction of class.

First-year Engineering student Emma Chamberlayne, who participated in tabling, said she has had a positive experience at the events so far.

“A lot of people are genuinely interested in what we’re doing, which I was excited by,” Chamberlayne said.

First-year College student Julia Hohenstein, another participant, said she spoke with many people about UJC while tabling.

“They really respect the idea of student self-governance,” Hohenstein said. ”That’s exactly what we stand for. We talked about the standards of conduct with a lot of people.”

UJC also hosted a discussion Wednesday with members of the Honor Committee, which was moderated by members of Sustained Dialogue.

While the two groups are different, Wellman said there will always be difficulty differentiating them.

“Confusion will never end because the [institutions are] very similar — it’s two sides of the same coin,” Wellman said. “Our processes are different, jurisdictions are different, but our philosophies are similar enough.”

Other events this week include a mock trial, which will give the public a chance to observe the process of a trial, Thursday and a scavenger hunt Friday.