EDITORIAL: Union judiciary plan successful
Avoiding trials is beneficial
Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2011 16:06
In his State of the Union address last Thursday, Student Union President Daniel Acheampong '11 noted that "the Student Judiciary has not seen a trial all year." This academic year is the first trial-free year as long as current students can remember. We applaud the Student Judiciary for, as Mr. Acheampong said, having "effectively avoided the contentious atmosphere" that we feel has been nearly synonymous with Union judicial cases in recent years. In the same vein, we encourage the winners of today's SJ election to work to continue the trend of avoiding unnecessary trials.
Although the Union's constitutional review last spring introduced an option for the judiciary to mediate conflicts rather than bring them directly to trial, and Mr. Acheampong's speech attributed the lack of trials to this mediation option, Chief Justice of the SJ Matthew Kriegsman '11 said in an interview with the Justice that the process was not actually used this year. Rather, no case was formally filed with the SJ this year, and the SJ instead avoided cases largely by working more closely with the other branches of the Union. Mr. Kriegsman cited the example of this past fall's election for the senator for the Village in which a candidate who was ineligible to be listed on the ballot won via a write-in campaign. Mr. Kriegsman said that he met with members of the executive board, and they were together able to resolve the issue in that setting.
This editorial board feels that this reveals a commendable new mindset within the SJ. While we certainly do not assume that all of the trials of the past few years could have been avoided through unofficial meetings, we believe that a united goal among SJ members of avoiding unnecessary trials could have reduced the number of official cases. However, not all of the success of this year's SJ in avoiding cases can be attributed to this united mindset. In all of this year's potential cases-approximately three, according to Mr. Kriegsman-the involved parties were satisfied within the results of the meeting.
When the official mediation option was introduced into the Union Constitution in March 2010, the SJ, under the leadership of then-Chief Justice Judah Marans '11, utilized that option to settle an official case only days later. This tendency to look to mediation as an option before a trial carried over to this year. Today's election, though, will yield a completely new SJ bench, and this page encourages all the winners of the SJ election to follow this new precedent by working more closely with the other branches of the Union and by seeking to avoid the frustration of an unnecessary trial through meetings and mediation.