More nimble J-Board ready to settle disputes

By: Connor Cummiskey 

Over this last summer and into this semester the Student Judiciary Board (J-board) has undergone some drastic changes, including a revamped constitution, more efficient organization and updated bylaws.

The staff of the J-board has been reduced to five permanent members: the president (Zachary Peterson), the vice president (Tyler Sturzl) and three adjudicators (Emma Bronson, Zachery White and Sierra Landholm).

“It was really clunky, you could not get people together,” says Peterson. “I talked with Dean Ogle and we both came to the conclusion that either J-board had to drastically change or we just were not able to have it anymore.”

However, without a student run J-board, representation of the students could suffer.

“Students having access to a process run by other students to try to bring resolution to important matters is a really good thing,” says Dean Ogle, who is also an advisor to the board.

The constitution and bylaws of the old J-board had been drafted in the mid to late 20th century and had not changed much since.

“Now, we have a brand new, updated constitution – the old one was completely thrown out,” Peterson says.

For hearings, two temporary adjudicators will be selected at random by the registrar. Both the defense and plaintiff can ask to have one of the temporary members reselected.

Students who wish to bring a case may present their complaint to the president and vice president of the J-board. In other cases, the dean of students can also bring violations or complaints to the attention of the J-board, according to a set of meeting notes.

If the president and vice president decide to proceed, they will open an investigation, and proceed with informing the involved parties of the hearing and organizing their appearance, according to the notes. The president will call the hearing to order, and the officers will inform involved parties as to the court’s code of conduct. Next, the alleged violations will be read by the president. The defendant then may present an opening statement and the plea.

Following a series of questions, the plaintiff will be asked to present their opening statement. Afterward, witnesses will be brought before the board individually for questioning, according to the notes.

Finally, the defendant and the plaintiff will have an opportunity to present their closing statements.

The J-board will come to a verdict privately, in the case of a guilty verdict a similar discussion will be had for sanctions. Any decision must be approved by the dean of students, or it goes before the committee of deans for review. All decisions (and any charges) will presented to the defendant by the dean of students in his office, according to the meeting notes.

“A student has 48-hours after they receive [the decision] to appeal it, and then it is appealed to [the Joint Judiciary Committee],” says Peterson.

Any student interested in contacting the J-board may do so by emailing them at [email protected], or by contacting Dean Ogle. The board hopes to soon have a physical dropbox for submissions as well.