First-year College students Sam Powers and Emma Westerhof, the newly selected chair and vice chair of the First Year Judiciary Committee, will begin their duties next week, as the First Year Judiciary Committee begins its first round of trials.
The selection process for the First Year Judiciary Committee involved passing an online quiz with short answer questions, an individual interview and a group interview. Candidates also participated in a mock deliberation, which helped them prove they could “consider all perspectives and potential backgrounds.”
FYJC stresses the positive role of justice over its punitive role. Powers said it exists in order to take into account the struggles some first-years face when adjusting from home to college life.
“We’re seeking to promote a community of safety, respect, and freedom, and we’re honoring the backgrounds of every single student coming in,” Powers said. “Our aim is not punishment, but education.”
This individualism allows students of diverse backgrounds who have violated the University Judiciary Committee’s standards of conduct to be uniquely sanctioned.
“We are not simply finding someone who violated the standard, going to the corresponding check box and giving them a sanction,” Powers said. “We are individually crafting a sanction for each student.”
Westerhof said her desires to join involved the concept of justice and how it is used in daily life.
“Personally I was drawn to UJC and FYJC because justice is my favorite quality, and it’s something that I really respect in others and something I strive to embody in my day to day life,” Westerhof said. “I think that in general justice is how a governing body shows that it cares about the safety of its community members and its wellbeing.”
She also said being in a leadership role means more than just filling an independent role, but is important in ensuring the group functions properly as a whole.
“My whole priority is not about the title, leadership position or reputation, it’s really about understanding how the group functions, what the group dynamics are and to make sure that the person in a leadership role will be able to facilitate the most good out of its members,” Westerhof said.
The FYJC will begin hearing panels this Wednesday.
“We have many, many cases on the docket, and we’re raring to go,” Westerhof said. “It’s a very short learning curve window, but they’ve done a great job of training the judges.”
Correction: The original headline of this article incorrectly referred to the First Year Judiciary Committee as the "First Year Judiciary Council."