SA advocates changes to the Judicial Code
November 30, 2006
The Student Assembly passed bills at Tuesday’s meeting advocating changes to the judicial code, a bill to install a compost tumbler outside the Commons, a bill to create cards telling students what their Resident Assistants can and cannot do and a bill to remove the Stolen ID fee.
p. The first bill, the Judicial Code Reformation Act, which passed 15-4-1, proposes a series of changes to the student Judicial Code. The bill does not authorize any changes to be made, but calls for a student referendum to be held during the March 2007 General Election.
p. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Will Coggin, a senior, and co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Luppino-Espositio, a junior, Senators Matt Beato, Zach Pilchen and Sean Sheppard, sophomores, and Sen. Scott Morris, a freshman. There were two key provisions discussed on the floor. The first suggested changing the burden of proof used in judicial hearings from “clear and convincing evidence” to “beyond reasonable doubt.”
p. Coggin expressed that this was necessary in order to ensure that students were given a fair trial process.
p. “I feel like too many students feel guilty until they are proven innocent,” he said.
p. Dean of Students Patrica Volp said that it is not uncommon for schools across the country to require “clear and convincing evidence.”
p. “One thing that is important; we don’t send students to jail,” she said. “One of the most serious reasons courts use beyond a reasonable doubt is because they can send people to jail.”
p. The bill was amended to include the stipulation that if evidence was required beyond reasonable doubt, the “College must establish the evidence using the necessary investigating measures.”
p. Another key provision that was passed was a suggestion to change the judicial council selection process to resemble the honor council process. Currently, judicial council members are selected through an application reviewed by staff. The bill proposes that judicial council members are selected by a student vote, the same as the honor council.
p. While the referendum does not take place until March, the sponsors of the bill felt strongly about the proposals.
p. “The whole system is set up as Alice and Wonderland and that absurd trial she goes to,” Pilchen said.
The Campus Composting Act passed through the SA 20-1-0. The bill, sponsored by Pilchen, appropriates $550 from the Student Activities Consolidated Reserve Account to the Student Environmental Action Coalition to purchase a compost tumbler that will be put outside the Commons. The tumbler will use selected leftovers from the Commons and the Marketplace to create compost. According to Pilchen and SEAC members, the tumbler will save the campus money because the gardening staff will no have to buy fertilizer. The fertilizer made will be used in the garden outside of the Commons.
p. The SA also passed the Know Your Rights Act, 19-0-0, which was sponsored by Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, a senior, and Senators Plichen and Sheppard. The bill appropriates $265 from the student activities consolidated reserves to the College American Civil Liberties Union chapter to purchase 7,500 “Know Your Rights in a Residence Hall” cards.
p. The cards, to be distributed through student mail, have a list of information about what RAs can and cannot do.
p. The SA passed a provision of the Auxiliary Services Mutual Cooperation Act, sponsored by Sen. Andrew Blasi, a freshman. The bill, which passed 11-7-0, allocates $686 from the consolidated reserves to remove the $5 Stolen ID fee during the 2006 to 2007 and 2007 to 2008 fiscal years.