Outgoing UJC Chair Peter Bautz reflects on his time with the committee

“The wonderful people who get the job done has been a highlight for me of being on this committee,” Bautz said.

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Bautz reflected on the accomplishments of UJC this past term as well as his hopes for the incoming committee.

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

Law student Peter Bautz sat down Sunday with Cavalier Daily Associate News Editor Nik Popli to discuss his experience as University Judiciary Committee chair for the 2017-18 school year. Bautz talked about the accomplishments of the Committee and what he hopes to see in the future.

Nik Popli: Could you talk about what initiatives the UJC took on this year? I know that there weren’t any referenda passed, so could you tell me what you would say the Committee’s accomplishments were this year?

Peter Bautz: We created a U.Va. fund in Alumni Hall which is going to be able to accumulate gifts from alumni to help build up hopefully a fairly sustainable fund to allow us to have sort of a less restricted source of spending than the state funds give us and also a more guaranteed source of funding since the state budget can fluctuate from year to year on how much we would be given. So that’s sort of a way to help do that. Right now it’s not too large — we’re looking into about $25,000 right now and that’s hopefully we keep building and growing, that’s probably one of the biggest things we did. 

We overhauled our case management system which hadn’t been updated in about 10 years, that’s an online system we use to track cases and make sure people are getting assigned to do all the management of case stuff through the system, and it hadn’t been updated in about 10 years and we just overhauled the whole system this year, so it’s on a new system, new platform, so was another big one we did. 

We added a vice chair for graduate students to help us do graduate outreach, which has been filled by Stephanie Ibanez this year which of course is fantastic that we’ve had somebody come in right away who’s taking up the job and helping us to do outreach to the graduate schools which are often underrepresented in the UJC and have trouble filling their spots and vacancies so the hope is we’re going to try and fix that with this position. 

We rebranded the Safer Communities Partnership Initiative as the Safer Communities Initiative and sort of restarted getting that regularly meeting, it had kind of gotten fallen through by the wayside a little bit after the August 11th and 12th stuff happened, as we’re sort of retooling it to better fit the purposes we wanted it to fit. That’s restarted now they’ve had I think two maybe three meetings now. 

The other three things we have, related to the case management update, we’ve also ordered a poll of student information from SIS. To pull the student information from there which gives us access to student demographic data which right now is only self-reported which means that we have a lot of problems when it comes to reporting demographics of accused students so for instance I think the recent one was like, we had something like, 108 students come through and it was like 50 male, 20 female and like 35 other which I’m pretty sure we’re getting like 30 non-gender conforming folks it’s probably just people who aren’t filling the survey so this will help ensure that we’re getting accurate demographic statistics, both race, ethnicity, as well as gender and that sort of information so that will be something important for us going forward … It’s currently going through its testing phase right now and will be going live probaby in the next week or two. The payment for it was made in July of this past year but it’s taken this long for it to get put together. 

We also did an internal demographic survey to look at internal demographics which you all covered in like November of last year, showing that overall, our demographics largely matched those of the University’s as a whole for the committee, granted, I think there’s still a lot of work to do in that area because it doesn’t necessarily mean that those demographics are true in each individual section of the committee right so you could have an almost predominantly white male counselor pool but have a very diverse rep pool that makes up for that, something like that that would mass that information so we did that. 

And finally we have sort of new UJC merchandise which is sitting over there in a bunch of boxes but new cups, new pens, which are basically just redos of the current versions we have. The new item we got were highlighters, so we also have laptop stickers and that sort of thing so that helps us at these like student org fairs and stuff to take, things to hand out so people can have them and hopefully see them and check things out so we have those. 

The only other thing we have are the case statistics which I’ll be covering in the UJC year in review in the gen bod I’ll have all the statistics up there, there’s also going to be a University-wide email going out in the next couple of days that will include all those case statistics as well so I can send you the powerpoint once we’re done with going through everything or just those tables that have the lists on them. So I think that’s sort of the big ticket things that we’ve done.

Popli: There has been a lot of presentations this semester, and last semester as well. What has been the goal with those presentations, and what do you hope reps and counselors get out of those?

Bautz: I guess that is the other achievement we had. We were able to expand that presentation speakers series to be even more than what we have had traditionally which has been like student affairs staff and VPSA’s office which we were able to expand to some law professors and folks from the Title IX office — that was one of my goals was to help leverage my connections at the Law School to kind of expand this series out to have more people talking about it. Part of it is to give people a chance to meet and hear from these administrators and ask questions to whom they might not interact with so getting to meet with Jill Rockwell and being able to go up and ask questions to the Title IX office that the average student may not have the ability to go and talk to. Part of it is to provide a perspective for judges and our support officers as well so that they can get sort of a feeling of some of the important issues they maybe be facing so like [Law School vice] Dean [Leslie] Kendrick talking about free speech issues because we do have cases where speech issues come up and giving them sort of an inside view of what that looks like for the JRB both for counselors and for judges this is what we’re looking for this is what we do on our appeals, that sort of thing, getting a feel for that, and other ones are supposed to be interest areas that we’re hopeful that our reps care about or are interested in learning about and give them a chance to hear about, for people who have been in these positions either at the school or other schools, and how it works and how it’s different from other schools.

Popli: What has been your favorite part of being on UJC?

Bautz: So I’ve been here for three years — I think it’s the people. I’ve met a lot — I think my closest friendships have really been formed in UJC especially through the executive committee here. We’ve got a lot of fantastic people, both support officers, representatives and exec members who make the committee run as smoothly as it does. It’s not a one-person job, and I don’t think it could be a one-person job, so I rely on them extensively for a lot of different things and being able to work with so many wonderful people who get the job done has been a highlight for me of being on this committee.

Popli: How do you think Kevin Warshaw will do as the next chair, and what do you hope the UJC will accomplish next year?

Bautz: I’m sure he’s going to do a great job. He’s been on Exec for two years now and I’ve been on exec for both of those years — first as vice chair of trials and now as chair. He has a lot of experience, he knows how exec runs, he knows the system very well. And I think what I would like to see going forward is more outreach to alumni. We started this fund but that doesn’t mean that it is going to automatically grow on its own. It’s going to be invested, it’s going to grow some interest, but growing by interest alone is probably not going to be sufficient so if you really want to be a successful fund there we need to be working on building it up ourselves as well so I’m hoping to see some outreach there, I’m hoping to see continued work to diversify the committee. As I said, we mirror overall the diversity of the University, but I think we can do a lot better in diversifying individual pools whereas I said I think we’re getting some of those we have a very diverse pool that’s balancing out maybe a very undiverse pool so I’d like to see that. I think doing more outreach to graduate students and to underrepresented populations in our community who either don’t know about us or don’t know how to apply. Whatever the issue is that we can get out to them more and get more people coming in from those communities to our committee.

Popli: Do you plan to stay involved with the UJC next year?

Bautz: I’m graduating, but I will say this — I’m moving to New York, where it seems to me about like 10 of the 20 UJC chairs all live as attorneys, so I will be up there and I will have plenty of alumni in the area from the UJC … I’m sure helping out with some of the fundraising and hosting some alumni events might be something I can help out with. I’m sure given the large number of people I know on the new exec, I’m sure I’ll keep hearing about things and staying involved that way. I’ll be working for Hogan Lovells which is a DC-based law firm, I’ll be working in their New York office working as a Junior Associate, assuming I pass the bar.

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