A first meeting checklist

No matter what system your school has, one thing is guaranteed—you will be meeting with someone after the incident has occurred.This meeting often helps determine whether an incident can be resolved informally (i.e., concluded with only that meeting) or whether further action needs to be taken.We encourage you to contact us immediately so we can begin assisting you, but if you would rather go it alone there are a few things you should know and/or ask:

  1. The person you are talking is not there to help you get out of trouble.
    They may be friendly and you may have a relationship with them, but their job during that meeting is to address your behavior as it affects the community and the school.This means trying to get the information necessary to determine how accountable you are and taking appropriate actions.
  2. Do not rely on your memory!
    Get as much information as you can in writing (ideally, electronically).
  3. Spend the initial meeting just listening and being polite.
    You are going to have a lot of questions, but most of them should be answered in that meeting without you having to ask them.If you are asked to explain what happened, be honest, do not deny those things you know are known, but offer the briefest explanation possible.If the person meeting with you does not seem satisfied, ask for a follow-up meeting and go into more detail once you have had a chance to process everything and have reviewed the materials.This may also be a good time to take advantage of our services.
  4. If you do not already know, ask if you will have the opportunity to respond in writing.
    Even if your fate is sealed, having a well-stated response in your file can help you in the long run in the event you find yourself in additional trouble or when you are ready to move on from school.
  5. Write down what you discuss.
    Whenever you have a discussion in which your behavior is the subject, it is a good idea to summarize what happened as soon as possible when your recollection is fresh.No detail is too small, so make sure you include your impressions of the person you spoke to and other details.
  6. If you can help it, do not make any major decisions during that initial meeting.
    You may be asked how you want to respond and offered several options.Even if you eventually choose the one you would have chosen at that moment, it is always better to take the time to reflect.What seems good at the time may actually be the preference of the person you’re speaking to and not the best choice for you.
  7. If the situation is resolved in that meeting, ask what will happen with your file.
    There is a huge difference between a file that becomes an “educational record” and one that is internal.Educational records are governed by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and are usually maintained (and thus searchable) for a long time after a student graduates.
  8. Offer to apologize to whomever was “hurt” by the incident if you know you are responsible.
    For example, if you are accused of drinking under age and violating the noise policy, ask if you can apologize to the RA and your neighbors for being loud and causing them trouble.Note:This is different from admitting responsibility.
  9. Be polite.
    Even if you think the person you’re speaking to is being “harsh” or not listening, he will always note if you are cooperative and respectful.While being polite may not help you or your case, being impolite will definitely hurt your case.
  10. If you do not like how the meeting went or if it seemed more serious than you initially thought it would, you should contact us for help immediately.
    It is never too late to obtain our services and the earlier you do so the more help we can be!