USG makes judicial recommendation to administration

Original in the Globe April 23, 2014

The United Student Government (USG) voted to recommend the University administration reform the judicial affairs appeals process by creating a judiciary board.

 “I’m glad I’m starting my administration with something that will effect change,” said USG’s new President Julian Singleton Monday in the Student and Convocation Center. “We created a recommendation to change the way the appeal process works in some sense to the way it was before, but the administration makes the final decision.”

USG President Emeritus Dillon Kunkle proposed the alteration in response to student claims that the structure of the judicial process was unjust.

“It had to be done,” said Kunkle in a telephone interview Monday. “We heard and read enough testimonials to see that the system was fundamentally flawed.  For someone who feels that the judicial system treated them unjustly, what are you gaining by appealing to a single individual?”

The proposition Kunkle presented states the students’ feelings of injustice stem from being judged by only one individual, and having appeals heard by a board comprised of peers and administration would reduce bias and balance opinion.

 “It was an overwhelmingly obvious fundamental flaw, and I feel we can fix this bias by opening it up to a board,” Kunkle said.

According to Kunkle, the flaw in the appeals process is inherent in the system.

“The flaw is in the claim of personal bias from the one person appeal,” Kunkle said. “It has nothing to do with the people and their abilities. As a student making a claim of injustice over structure, having a different structure of appeals will help to assuage those plights.”

The proposition also suggested students who serve on the board be compensated for their service. Kunkle was presented with the concern that compensation could potentially lead to bias.

“It’s an incentive to serve, to give their time,” Kunkle said. “Compensation can lead to bias, but I don’t think compensation at the level of lunch for your time would. You’re getting something for your time, regardless of your opinion.”

President Pro Tempore Gabriel Dubin, who voted against the passing the proclamation, said his main issue with the board would be the time it takes up.

“It will slow down the process,” said Dubin, who has a federal work-study with Judicial Affairs, Monday in Lawrence Hall.

 “If the student body wants change, we are the implementation of that change,” Dubin said. “There was a small amount of mistreatment, but that should not be ignored. There were two significant complaints voiced by The Globe, but no other complaints in my time in Judicial Affairs.”

Dubin said he also saw no problem with students being compensated.

“Before you served with no compensation and there was low turnout,” Dubin said about the previous judicial board. He also said the wording in the proposition was vague and up for discussion.

In regards to his vote, Dubin said he should have abstained due to his conflict of interest in working with Judicial Affairs.

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