Meyer takes over
New Director of Student Development to enhance probation program
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 14:02
Before this year, it was the Dean of Students who handled student conduct. But, before resigning in September, VP for Campus Life Celestino Limas traded the job to a new position—the Director of Student Development.
Enter Greg Meyer.
Meyer, 31, assumed the role August 1 and hopes to someday change the way Lafayette addresses crime and school violations.
“Student conduct is not what people think it is,” Meyer said. “You meet people who are sometimes at their worst and hope that they can get back to their best, sometimes a level they don’t even know they have.”
A 2004 Lehigh alumnus, Meyer served as a residence advisor (RA) for several years. There, he met his future wife, Katie, an RA in the same dorm.
“RAs are called Gryphons at Lehigh,” Meyer said. “We were voted most likely to have Gryphon babies.”
The voting committee was correct – the Meyers now have a two-year-old daughter, Meredith, and are expecting another child this May.
After graduating, Meyer worked as a hall director at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. Shortly thereafter, JMU created a Judicial Affairs Branch position called the “Assistant Director for Civic Learning,” a job that Meyer thought he would never want to do.
How wrong he was. In his new position, Meyer was able to have “powerful conversations with students,” something he loved.
Probation was a small part of JMU’s sanctioning practices. Meyer helped coordinate civic learning and educational sanctions that occasionally replaced probation.
Oftentimes, Meyer would assign a student to work in a campus office and form a relationship there.
“It wasn’t about giving back to society,” Meyer said. “It was about getting connected to the university.”
Those concepts are behind the new position. In his role, Meyer reports to Dean of Students Paul McLoughlin.
Lafayette’s probationary practices haven’t changed, but Meyer’s conversations with students have.
“I ask the students what they think needs to be done,” Meyer said. “It changes the way conversation goes. As much as it’s opposite from our criminal justice system, it’s human nature.”
The conversations revolve around a system called restorative justice. When a violation occurs, Meyer asks who was harmed, what potential harm there could have been, what those harmed need, and whose obligation it is to meet those needs.
One aim of restorative justice is to connect the student to the college, encouraging change.
“There is nothing broken about our system,” Meyer said. “I truly believe that. But putting this resource here is a commitment saying we want to move in a different direction.”
So far, Lafayette has not set a time frame for any new changes. But they are looking.
“Students from JMU are different than the students at Lafayette,” Meyer said. “We are in the process of collecting information through surveys and focus groups.”
Meyer and his family have enjoyed Lafayette so much that they decided to live in South College. They often leave their door open, and have recently hosted get-togethers, serving cookies and coffee to get to know their neighbors better.
“We live next to some soccer girls who come by and play with our daughter,” Meyer said. “Sometimes it gets a bit noisy, but living on campus has been really great for us.”