Who we are
The Office of the Student Advocate (OSA) – an official service of UCSB’s Associated Students – assists students accused of violating the University Code of Student Conduct and to advocate for students in any necessary changes needed to make the the University policies fair.
OSA is a non-partisan executive branch of the UCSB Associated Student Government. We are composed of two internal divisions:Caseworkers focus on helping students who face charges from the University in housing, academic, social conduct, and public interest matters. They work one-on-one with students as a reactive entity, waiting as cases come to them. Our staff is specially trained in all varieties of disciplinary matters, and can help you to reach an appropriate resolution to your problem. Our assistance is prompt, professional, confidential, and free.
Community Organizers work to create projects and events that advocate for students. They apply the trends that caseworkers are seeing with students and listen to the communities to create events and outreach that best serves the students and their needs. Our organizers are involved in a variety of different groups on campus and work to ensure that all voices of the University community are being heard.
OSA was established to make possible the highest level of fairness and equity within the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Disciplinary Processes. Created in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Chancellor, Office of Judicial Affairs, and Office of Residential Life, the OSA facilitates straightforward communication between students and the University by providing free and confidential peer support services, advice, and advocacy to any student, organization or group involved in a dispute with the University.
Additionally, the OSA strives to fulfill the University’s commitment to integrity in education by providing vigorous training and pre-law practicum to the office’s undergraduate student staff, while supplying a constructive learning experience to those students navigating UCSB’s judicial system.
The OSA’s primary responsibility is to give students the tools and information necessary to empower them to either remedy their situation by themselves or be assisted by the Student Advocate if requested. Essentially serving as the campus public defender, the OSA offers peer based support, advice, and aid to all students and student groups involved in disciplinary processes or dispute with the University. All services provided by the OSA are entirely free and confidential.
When a student is charged – either officially or unofficially – with misconduct violations, the OSA’s trained staff can begin to help the student depending on the specific needs of his or her case. Such charges may include, but are not limited to any alleged academic, conduct, or disciplinary violations to the University Code of Conduct or Residential Life Policies.
In most circumstances, staff members discuss conduct procedures and University policies with the student, inform them about the various stages of the University’s judicial process, and answer student questions. OSA staff may also aid students in the composition of documents pertinent to their cases (i.e. personal statement, appeals letter etc.)
If requested, an Advocate may accompany a student to their informal disciplinary meeting, at which time they can provide support and mediation services for the student. If a case progresses to its formal hearing stage (i.e. Residential Review Board Meeting or Student-Faculty Committee on Student Misconduct), the student may request that an Advocate attend their hearing, help them prepare a clear opening statement and provide them counsel and advice during the proceedings.