Director of top disciplinary office takes leave for Army Reserves training

Media Credit: Photo courtesy of GW Media Relations

Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities Gabriel Slifka, left, will take a leave of absence this semester. Timothy Terpstra, director of academic integrity, right, will help cover the work load.

The University will lose the top administrator in charge of student discipline this semester, leaving temporary vacancies atop offices that handle some of the most sensitive cases on campus.

Gabriel Slifka, who oversees disciplinary issues like drug and alcohol use, code of conduct violations and hazing as the director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, will take time off to complete training for the U.S. Army Reserves.

Media Credit: Photo courtesy of GW Media Relations
Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities Gabriel Slifka, left, will take a leave of absence this semester. Timothy Terpstra, director of academic integrity, right, will help cover the work load.

The office became more powerful after a major restructuring in 2011 split under Student Judicial Services, sending the most egregious cases to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and lesser offenses to the Office of Civility and Community Standards.

“Throughout my time at GW, I have strived to encourage students to live by their own personal values and the values of the University. I look forward to this opportunity to serve my country as a member of the Army Reserves,” said Slifka, who has been at the University since September 2006.

His absence marks the second major administrative departure over the last several months. Tara Pereira, the former sexual harassment and discrimination coordinator, stepped down from her role in December to spend more time with her family.

When Slifka departs for a semester, the office’s associate director Katie Porras will work more closely with students and parents in suspension and expulsion cases and will be assisted by Tim Terpstra, the director of the Office of Academic Integrity.

Terpstra, who handles cheating cases, merged offices with Slifka last spring when GW’s disciplinary arm absorbed the Office of Academic Integrity.

Senior Associate Dean of Students Mark Levine said he would take the lead on final reviews of cases, an aspect he called “a critical piece in the checks and balances of our system.”

Levine added that the expanded roles gives members of Student Rights and Responsibilities “a chance to stretch their wings and further develop their skill sets.”

“Students, parents and others can be assured that we recognize the importance of a well-managed, professional, and compassionate student conduct office and plan to maintain that during Gabe’s absence and beyond,” Levine said.

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