On Monday evening, Student Government (SG) held a town hall to discuss the future of the Judicial Branch after proposed legislation would remove the conduct board from Student Body Statutes. The conduct board currently does not overlap or oversee the legislative and executive branches of SG and their duties.
When the government bill was up for second reading at the Senate meeting on Oct. 30, many senators were weary of the bill arguing that a judicial branch that has oversight over the two other branches should exist.
According to Coleman Simpson, first-year graduate student in agricultural leadership and senator, the point of the town halls are to collect feedback from members of SG, the student body and other external bodies on what should happen to the judicial branch once they leave.
“These town halls are going to serve as that informational facilitative discussion-based body,” Simpson said. “These town halls are the public forum for that discussion because another issue was student senators and other students perceived that these conversations were not held in public spaces. So we are being very intentional with how we are doing that.”
Simpson said there weren’t specific ideas that were going to be posed, rather that proposals of the Judicial Branch’s future would be generated and discussed at the town halls.
“The big goal of the town hall is that we don’t start out with a finite proposal and idea,” Simpson said. “Instead we start with creative, open discussions as to how Student Government operates, how we view oversight and accountability and what we’re not focusing on currently in Student Government that another body could fill. And then creating a judicial body or branch that fits within that scope.”
All of the attendees of the town hall were members of SG. They discussed the overall structure and culture of SG and Senate and whether or not a judicial branch is necessary in order for the other branches to operate.
Molly Vanhoy, second-year in microbiology and senator for the College of Sciences, summarized the four major options that have been discussed, stating that the current ideas were to have no Judicial Branch at all, keeping the Judicial Branch as it is, having a separate Judicial Branch with the Senate Government Relations and Oversight (GRO) committee operating inside of Senate and having a separate Judicial Branch that is made up of GRO members.
Miles Calzini, a second-year Ph.D. in chemistry and graduate student senator, also discussed the option of creating an Ad Hoc committee within the Senate if an oversight committee was necessary.
No decision was made about the future of the Judicial Branch, but there will be two more town halls that are open to the public, the next one being on Dec. 3 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Following that, the third town hall meeting and first committee meeting will be the week of Jan. 6 and the first reading of all applicable legislation. The committee will then meet again the week of Jan. 20, and Jan. 27 is the proposed date for second reading of legislation.
If the legislation moves to change the Student Government constitution, a referendum will be voted on by the student body during the Spring Election.