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Former UJC chair Nabeel Raza welcomes Lisa Kopelnik as new chair

Committee also welcomed new executive committee members

This fall semester, the Committee adjudicated 12 cases — 5 of which were COVID-19 related.
This fall semester, the Committee adjudicated 12 cases — 5 of which were COVID-19 related.

The University Judiciary Committee met Sunday to transition leadership and introduce the new members of the executive committee. Nabeel Raza, fourth-year College student and former UJC chair, also welcomed second-year College student, Lisa Kopelnik as the new chair.

In his farewell address, Raza said he was proud of all the work that had been accomplished during his time as chair. During his four years at the University, Raza served on the executive committee every year he was part of UJC, through roles including First-Year Judiciary Committee member and Vice Chair for Sanctions. 

According to Raza, UJC serves a unique role in student self-governance not seen by other institutions across the country. At other institutions, cases similar to the ones processed by UJC are often adjudicated by a panel of administrators, rather than by a panel of students. Raza said that because students part of UJC understand the student experience at the University, they can make more empathetic decisions. He cited Susan Davis, former senior associate vice president for student affairs and longtime UJC advisor, who recently said the Committee possesses real legal and constitutional power.

“Be proud and humbled by that [power],” Raza said. “I firmly believe after visiting other schools and helping my friends through their conduct systems that our system protects students and provides better outcomes than any other.”

Raza also mentioned the wide range of cases, from COVID-19 violations to hazing charges, that he has seen through his time at the UJC — the Committee saw a record number of 52 cases spring 2021 due to COVID-19 related case flow. This fall semester, the Committee adjudicated 12 cases — 5 of which were COVID-19 related.

Raza closed his address by thanking the Committee for entrusting him with the role as chair and saying he would take the tools he had learned during his time at the UJC to his future in medical school next fall. 

“I will say serving in this role has been one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done,” Raza said. “This work will always be a part of me and I've grown with it and into it.”

After accepting a gift from the committee, Raza introduced his successor, second-year College student Lisa Kopelnik. Kopelnik formerly served as vice chair for sanctions and FYJC chair.

Pointing to Raza’s example, Kopelnik said she hopes to become a serving leader, working for everyone on the committee and in the community. 

“I want that to be sort of the spirit of this year — that everything that we do is a part of who we are,” Kopelnik said. “Everything that we do is for the people that we serve in the community that we serve.”

The committee also heard a few words from Marsh Pattie, UJC advisor and associate vice president of student affairs, who spoke about how incredible it was to see UJC work through unprecedented issues such as the pandemic while continuing to uphold their standards and policies, attributing Raza’s leadership to some of this success. 

“[The events of the COVID-19 pandemic are] some of the most difficult experiences that any college student or any person can ever go through, and you all were in positions of leadership helping to navigate the University community through that, and still helping us navigate through that,” Pattie said.

The committee also welcomed the new members of the executive committee, which include second-year College student Ineke La Fleur as Vice Chair for Trials, second-year College student Anna Prillaman as Vice Chair for Sanctions, second-year College student Melinda Wong as Vice Chair for First Years, fifth-year Graduate student Viranga Wimalasiri as Vice Chair for Graduate Students, second-year College student Harper Jones and third-year College student Daria London as Senior Counselors, second-year College student Campbell Coleman as Senior Investigator, second-year College student Jordan Rodgers as Senior Educator and first-year College Arianna Shwartz as Senior Data Manager. 

The First Year Judiciary Committee Chairs, first-year College students Allison McVey and Joseph Chambers will be continuing on in their roles, with their term ending October.

The UJC will continue with meetings this semester to begin the new term.