Mickey Toogood assumed the position of judicial affairs administrator on Aug. 18, replacing former judicial affairs officer Veronica Carter, who announced in July that she was retiring from Tufts after 30 years of service. Toogood shared the position with Carter during a two-week transition period until her retirement on Aug. 31.
Toogood will have several responsibilities as judicial affairs administrator: overseeing the day-to-day operations of the student judicial process; meeting with students as they go through the disciplinary process; playing a leadership role in revising and updating the Code of Conduct and working closely with faculty across departments in order to uphold community standards and improve the student experience, according to an email announcement from Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon to faculty on Aug. 11.
A current Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at Tufts, Toogood has taught in the Freshman Writing program since 2011, according to McMahon. He also worked as a staff assistant and graduate intern in the Judicial Affairs office for two years, during which he gained extensive knowledge of Tufts’ judicial system.
“Mickey’s two years of experience as our graduate Judicial Affairs intern made him a very strong candidate, because he brought firsthand knowledge of how our administrative processes have run and thoughtful ideas about how to update those processes,” McMahon told the Daily in an email.
Toogood said that as judicial affairs administrator, he hopes to be an accessible resource for students rather than a mysterious authority in Dowling Hall. He intends to spend more time out of the office and has already attended fraternity party training and campus events including Fall Gala this year, he explained.
“I want people to know who I am; I don’t want to just be a name that students hear around like, ‘Oh you go see Mickey Toogood when you get in trouble,’” he said, joking that the irony of his last name should work to his advantage in this respect.
Toogood said that while he has an obligation to uphold community standards, students’ well-being is his ultimate priority, and he hopes to change the judicial system to reflect that.
“We would like students to start thinking of us as a resource and think of us as a proactive place, not just a reactive place,” he said. “I’m trying to move away from students viewing me as as a principal, from feeling like I’m their high school principal who’s calling them in to yell at them, and instead trying to shift the conversation to be more about community standards.”
Toogood explained that he is working closely with the Committee on Student Life (CSL) on revising the Student Judicial Process, a written document that defines students’ rights in the judicial system and outlines different charges and sanctions for breaches of the Code of Conduct. More specifically, he hopes to create a more succinct Student Judicial Process that students are more likely to read.
“We are revising particular sanctions and particular charges,” Toogood said. “I’m not ready to say what those are, but we’re looking at them. These changes necessarily have to be slow, and they should be slow, because you shouldn’t allow one person to just change everything.”
While Toogood did not discuss his specific plans for procedural changes, McMahon said that his ideas contributed to his hiring.
“During his daylong on-campus interview with students and with staff from across the University, he discussed innovative ideas to improve our handling of academic integrity cases, first-time alcohol incidents and generally administering our judicial processes more efficiently,” McMahon said.
Toogood has already led the Dean of Student Affairs Office through a transition this year from using paper files to a more streamlined online student conduct management system, a significant administrative change, according to McMahon.
“The online system is more efficient,” Toogood said. “If we have an issue that involves the police, Health Service and Judicial Affairs, that was hard to coordinate all on paper. Now it’s much more streamlined, it’s much easier to communicate and make sure that everyone is in the loop.”
Carter did not respond to the Daily’s request for comment.