OUR VIEW: SGA Judiciary betrays public trust, flouts dutyBy CW Editorial Board | 09/14/2015 7:35am
On Thursday, Sept. 10, Akeisha Young, chief justice of the SGA Student Judiciary, issued an opinion that the Student Organization Seating violated the SGA Code of Laws and is unofficial until deemed otherwise. In the opinion of the Crimson White Editorial Board, the release of this opinion reflects a gross betrayal of the public trust and dereliction of duty by the parties involved.
In the opinion, Young is the only justice identified and served as a non-voting member of the panel.
She references Title XIV, Section 1, Chapter 1304.1, which requires that the “Student Organization Seating Board grade the Student Organization application or interview, as stated in Chapter 1302.2, by a combination of four (4) criteria: Academics, Campus Leadership, Community Service, and Special Issues.”
This is verbatim from a bill that was brought before the SGA senate on April 14, 2015. That bill was sent to the committee of the whole and has not since been approved by the senate. Young continues to reference this bill in her opinion as though it were part of the SGA Code of Laws.
It is possible that the code was brought up in the appeal. Regardless, it is the job of the chief justice and the justices serving on the panel to check the bylaws by which the SGA operates. By not doing so, Young and the other unnamed members of the panel and opinion have failed in their duties.
We are concerned with the rapid turnaround of this opinion. The opinion states the first appeal of the process was received at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, and the block seating chart was released Wednesday.
The procedures of the Student Judiciary outlined in the Student Judiciary Rules in Constitutional Review Cases requires the court to solicit briefs from both parties and undergo a lengthy process involving multiple meetings and documents to be filed.
Being that the opinion was released on Friday, the court would have to complete this full procedure in a little under 48 hours, assuming the court started at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, when the first appeal was received, as the opinion states, and finished by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10, the day the opinion was in effect.
We do not believe the court could have followed its own procedures in this case in this timespan. Multiple sources close to the situation have said the court did not contact both parties as is dictated by procedure. If this is the case, Young and the unnamed justices violated the rules of the court.
In her opinion, Young does not name the parties who appealed. The court received three appeals, all of which are named “student organizations,” which is an overly broad and dangerously unclear term. We do not know which student organizations filed appeals, and the blanket term implicates every organization that applied for block seating.
The only party named in the ruling is Branden Greenberg. For some reason, Young did not name the appellants and her fellow justices on the panel. The complete silence from the SGA Judiciary in the time following the ruling’s release reiterates the lack of transparency involved in the process. There is no accountability for the anonymous panel involved to follow its own procedures.
The same court that is tasked with appeals of parking tickets and football ticket penalties is also tasked with non-academic violations of the student code of conduct. Non-academic violations are offenses against people, against property, disrupting order, disregarding safety and the abuse of the system.
It is disturbing that the same court that couldn’t correctly determine the current SGA laws and follow its own proceedings oversees cases with a direct impact on the safety and security of the student body.
Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White Editorial Board. Opinions Editor Leigh Terry recused herself from this opinion due to previous involvement with the SGA Judiciary.