The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

A baffling continuance

The University Judiciary Committee/Honor Committee/Cavalier Daily debacle came to an end Tuesday night when the UJC ruled that it did not have jurisdiction with respect to a writer who published an article that mentioned a pending honor trial, potentially breaching confidentiality.

This was something The Cavalier Daily had been arguing since the outset, but both days since the decision its leadership has continued to lambast the UJC despite the fact that the two groups are, for all intents and purposes, in agreement. They have previously called the UJC a "kangaroo court," and have gone so far as to question the legitimacy of student self-governance as an effective means of overseeing the university.

This whole affair, however, only demonstrates the effectiveness of student self-governance. A student believed confidentiality had been breached and filed a UJC claim against the writer who wrote the article. The UJC chair took the claim and had the option to dismiss it or put it to trial. A complex case like this is best decided by a group rather than one individual, so the safer move was to take it to trial. There, a panel of students would decide if they have jurisdiction and, if yes, a verdict of guilt or innocence.

Of course, The Cavalier Daily has been screaming "Innocent!" until blue in the face, but it is not their job to determine innocence, or to interpret the UJC's constitution. It is UJC's job to do so. And the body carried it out in a ruling that aligned with The Cavalier Daily's viewpoint. The UJC was a mediator in this case, not the enemy of the free press, and it performed its duty without "adult supervision."

It is a thing rare and wonderful that our government was set up by, is managed by and has members elected by students. Thus, we can voice our opinions and question candidates during campaigns. We have immediate accountability and connection, rather than having school administrators decide what is best for us.

I agree with The Cavalier Daily that jurisdiction should be decided before a trial. I disagree with the UJC's ruling that it does not have jurisdiction in published breaches of confidentiality. I disagree that Cavalier Daily writers have impenetrable shields per the First Amendment that give them more freedom of speech than I have.

I am sure these issues will be brought up in the next election along with several others pertinent to this case. Students will debate them, and elect a person whose opinion best mirrors theirs. Strip away the drama and defamation and we are left with all the signs of a smooth, thoughtful, functional student government system. They are entitled to their opinion, but why The Cavalier Daily's leadership remains vindictive after the impartial committee sided with them is, to say the least, baffling.

Reed Arnold\nCOMM V

Comments