The need to lead

The University Judiciary Committee should engage more with the student body, to garner ideas for improvements

The University Judiciary Committee elected its Executive Team on Sunday night, except one of the positions was not filled. Two of the three positions they did select were uncontested. Outgoing UJC Chair David Ensey said the Vice Chair for First-years position was not filled because overall there were a low number of committee positions filled in the University-wide election. He said “we did not engage the schools as effectively as we could have in educating on what it means to be a UJC member.”

We discussed in our UJC endorsement editorial the College candidates’ concerning lack of goals for the coming term. An empty position on the Executive Team exacerbates those concerns, even though the position of Vice Chair for First-years apparently does not need to be filled until the fall, according to Ensey.

We had hoped students from other schools whom we did not interview would have more new initiatives to bring to the table. But incoming Vice-Chair for Trials Shanice Hardy, a third-year Batten student, said she preferred not to discuss her goals with the media, leaving us with more questions and fewer answers.

Incoming UJC Chair Timothy Kimble said they can always improve their connection to the student body. Disconnect could be one of the reasons for the abundance of unfilled committee positions. Ensey also pointed to insufficient information provided by the University Elections Board about how to run for a UJC position. Such an assertion could be true, but the Honor Committee, which performs a similar function to UJC and is also elected by the student body, does not suffer from the same lack of competition that seems to be plaguing UJC.

Even if there was a lack of communication from the UBE about how to run for UJC positions, it seems reasonable to assume a student who has the desire to run for a leadership position will seek out the information necessary to do it. We can see lack of desire within UJC itself, as no one ran for the fourth executive position. And this lack of competition for leadership is concerning, as it has left UJC with a lack of clear goals for the coming term.

It seems as though the student body is more concerned with issues surrounding Honor than it is with UJC. The latter does not get as much recognition as the former, and consequently there is a huge discrepancy in the amount of scrutiny each faces. Students may find Honor more contentious because of its controversial single sanction system, but there are UJC policies which students could also find contentious. For example, UJC cases are not decided by juries — a panel of judges hears each case. Given the uproar over last year’s Honor proposal to eliminate random student juries, one would think the practices of UJC would face similar criticism. UJC’s multiple sanction system could be the distinguishing factor in this comparison, but the desire to have a jury of peers hear your case is still a valid concern.

As we have said before, we feel Timothy Kimble is qualified to lead UJC, and his suggestion that they can do a better job of reaching out to the student body should be taken seriously. Perhaps if students were more aware of UJC’s practices, they would offer more suggestions on how the committee can improve. A greater level of scrutiny from students is necessary in order to make UJC fit the definition of a student self-governance organization. Such scrutiny would perhaps motivate leaders to set clear goals to make UJC cater to the desires of the students it is meant to serve.

Published March 25, 2014 in Opinion

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