The Student Government’s (SG) Judicial Review Committee has recently revealed a working model of the proposed student judiciary with the hopes of receiving feedback from constituents before they vote to create or reject it at the end of the semester.
“The student judiciary is, essentially, the same conduct process, but instead of a resident coordinator like Mitch [Goodman] or Kate [Collier], they have a board of students hear the case,” said Judicial Review Committee Chairman Henry Jaros. “It’s the same process, it’s just a different set of people that are going through the process with you.”
Under the proposed model, the judiciary would consist of six to nine student jurors who would submit an application to SG, undergo an interview process conducted by SG Executive Council members and the Senate and be confirmed by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA).
Potential jurors would need to have a cumulative 2.5 GPA, be able to serve a full year as a juror at the Irving campus, apply the year prior to receiving the position and not be a member of SG involved in the selection process.
As such, freshmen and sophomores going to Rome would not be able to be jurors.
Currently all conduct cases are handled by OSA and the office has responded positively to the proposal.
“Students sitting across from each other and discussing why one of them violated our community standards can create an opportunity for learning and contemplation about the importance of community, community standards, and our role as citizens in a community,” Director of Student Affairs Seth Oldham wrote in an email.
After being selected, the jurors would undergo training in restorative justice from OSA, as they will be dealing with sensitive and confidential information.
Additionally, OSA will hand down cases to the student judiciary on a case by case basis and will have a strictly advisory role in the conduct meetings held by the judiciary.
The student judiciary would not be able to handle any cases dealing with Title IX or cases where suspension or expulsion is likely, as well as other situations deemed inappropriate to be handled by the student judiciary by the OSA.
Many students responded very positively towards the idea of a student judiciary becoming a part of the conduct process.
“They’re going under the same pressures, schedules, and learning how to move about in life,” freshman Rachel Gernhardt said. “They might be a smidge more sympathetic than just someone who hasn’t been in college for a while.”
“I don’t see how there’s any way how the students could not have a better perspective actually being a member of the student body,” freshman Noah Lombardozzi said.
However, others saw potential areas of concern.
“You’re going to be taking some risks with community unity,” Lombardozzi said. “[When] you’re setting a group aside from the traditional societal group… You’re always inviting conflict.”
“My only concern would be if it would cause the people who are on jury to get some flak,” Gernhardt said.
An intended consequence of the student judiciary is the promotion of peer review within the UD community that will bring the student body together.
“I think in its very nature, peer to peer correction or fraternal correction is compassionate,” Jaros said. “It’s making the conduct process more about community and making sure that the community behaves well and functions well and understands itself to the point where it can say, ‘We’ve done wrong and now we’re going to correct it.’”
The Student Senate will be voting on the proposed student judiciary at their second to last meeting of the semester.
Students with concerns or questions regarding the student judiciary can contact their respective senators, record their concerns at SG on the Mall or email the chair of the Judicial Review Committee, Henry Jaros, at firstname.lastname@example.org.