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Power grab

It seems that The Cavalier Daily is focusing more of its stories on the Honor Committee and rightfully so. Most recently, the article "Honor may rid of student jury" (Oct. 4), illustrates many glaring issues embedded within the system that are in dire need of reform.

The proposition that the Committee is discussing would eliminate juries comprised entirely of students. An accused student would have to chose from either a panel of all Committee members or a mix of students and Committee members to hear the case.

If the current proposition were passed, here is how the process would go for an accused student:\nA student is turned into the Committee. The Committee assigns the student an "advisor" who is also a member of the Committee. Two Committee investigators then gather the facts and present them to Committee members to review the case. The Committee rubber stamps the case to trial and appoints counsel (also members of the Committee) to represent the student. The case is heard by either a panel of all Committee members or a mix of Committee members and students. If the student is found guilty and files an appeal, it is the Committee that reviews the appeal and makes a decision.

In essence, with these changes, the Committee will become judge, jury and executioner - not to mention investigator and counsel by proxy. If student jurors are eliminated, trials will become nothing more than tribunals by a group of students only marginally answerable to anyone in the community. Where are the checks and balances? How do these few students hold so much power? Despots would be envious of such concentrated power. Mr. Jefferson would be ashamed.

The Committee claims that elimination of student jurors will increase jury engagement and ensure that they have full understanding of the bylaws. This implies that Committee members are more knowledgeable on these issues. Thus, on a mix jury, it stands to reason that students will rely on Committee members to make decisions - as they are the experts. It sounds like the Committee is on a power grab.

Perhaps a better solution to the current problem is to make the bylaws and definitions easier to understand. There are better ways to educate than "doing it all yourself." Current definitions of intent and triviality are so vague they are often inadequately applied to the current case. The Committee could include hypothetical examples of what "intent" or "triviality" mean so that it can become clearer in the heads of the jury.

Elizabeth Hall\nCLAS IV

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