PEER REVIEW AUTHORITY MEMBERS JOIN STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES BOARD
By Caleb Diehl /// Managing Editor
For tough conduct hearings, students might find de facto lawyers among their peers after ASLC senators work to change the role of the Peer Review Authority. Former ASLC Chief Justice Will Aime (’14), Associate Justice Sophia Freuden (’16) and 14 members of the Peer Review Authority resigned on Feb. 27 to serve on the new Student Rights and Responsibilities Board. Owen Christiansen (’16) has been named chief justice.
After talking with an outside consulting group over the summer, Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez and Aime decided to model the LC justice system after that of other colleges. The SRRB will be made up of at least 10 members and be independent of ASLC. Members will hear the cases of students who violate the Code of Conduct and moderate disputes between students, but leave the PRA to oversee ASLC bylaws. The chair of the SRRB will not need to win a student election.
“If you get caught you should be held responsible,” Aime said. “It’s hard to say that as somebody trying to get elected.”
Aime said that past chief justices have weighed pandering to the student body for votes with maintaining good working relations with administrators. At other schools, student conduct boards work under the Dean of Students or another administrator.
“Being honest, it took a while for Kelly Hoover and Charlie Alquist to trust me to be chief justice,” Aime said. “I had to work hard on the PRA to show them I was doing it well.”
Under the new system, the director of the SRRB will hire a student to serve as chair. Kelly Hoover will serve as director, until the college can hire another staff member over the summer. This doesn’t mean that student conduct hearings will be any freer from administrative influence, Aime said. Under ASLC, the PRA still worked closely with administrators.
Some senators expressed support for the idea of the SRRB, but argued that students had no time to discuss the changes. Aime did not notify senators before announcing his resignation. As Aime walked out the door, Charlie Patterson (’14) called for a motion to retain him (motioning to keep someone in the room is not a valid action in ASLC senate).
“We were definitely undermined,” Patterson said at the senate meeting last Thursday. “We had no say in this.”
At that meeting, senators passed a resolution in support of giving students in the PRA an advocacy role. If a student gets bogged down in the Code of Conduct or feels administrators handled their case unfairly, a student advocate from the PRA can step in on their behalf. The PRA might also work to inform students of their rights. President Musa Ahmed (’14) suggested that as a test run, members of the PRA could advise the Rusty Nail Co-op coordinators as they submit an appeal to reopen their space in Tamarack Hall.
As for Aime, not much has changed. “I’m basically doing what I was doing 90 percent of the time,” he said.