After sending out a campus-wide email on Feb. 19 seeking people to fill justice positions on Student Court, the Student Association executive board voted on a reading presented by SA President senior Harrison Dole to appoint four associate justices during its meeting on Wednesday March 4. The new justices are freshman Jarred Okosun and sophomores James Clarke, Caitlin Toth and Colleen Cummings. Members of the Student Court are appointed until they graduate, unless they decide to step down or are asked to leave. There are five members in the Court, the four aforementioned and Chief Justice senior Joshua Roychowdhury.
“The Student Court has been an organization on this campus for a long time, but its services have not been directly provided to the campus due to lack of demand,” Dole said. “Membership has sort of fizzled as time has passed and as a result, we sort of found out via happenstance that the Student Court consists of currently one member, which is our Chief Justice. So what I looked to do was immediately fix that because it is a service we need to have readily available to the student body.”
The new justices met on Wednesday March 4 to establish the future of the organization, noting that their training will begin after they meet with Roychowdhury.
“In terms of training these officers, it is going to be a difficult process because we have not had to train anybody in a few years,” Dole said. “I’m looking to communicate with [SA Director of Programs, Personnel and Finances] Kate [Rebban] who has the best history of the Student Council so far as well as Josh [Roychowdhury]––our Chief Justice––in terms of getting the Student Court representatives trained and ready to understand the responsibilities as it sits with the Student Association.”
In finding people to fill these positions, Dole explained that he was looking for students who were well-rounded and younger so that they could hold the position for a longer period.
With regard to the application process, Okosun noted that it was not an intense experience. “It was pretty simple,” he said. “It was a piece of paper that asked what you were applying for and you just had one option: Student Court. You were also asked to list your activities.”
During the meeting, Dole addressed student questions. One student asked if SA is biased in appointing the justices, as they are supposed to serve as a type of “checks and balances” system to the SA executive board. Dole emphasized that he chose students who had government and law experience, as well as a diverse amount of both on and off campus activities and majors.
“With my process in particular, I made sure to consult both Kate [Rebban] as well as the current Chief Justice for the sake of understanding better who would fit the role,” Dole said “So I think you’re right policy-wise, it doesn’t exactly fit the way that it should. I agree with you on that, but I want to assure you that in terms of my personal experience with the process, I’ve done my best to pull as many opinions as I can aside from my own for the sake of avoiding that very issue.”
The new members of Student Court agreed that this organization is important to the student body.
“I think that it’s important to have different aspects in Student Association,” Cummings said. “You need different areas to keep it together and make sure everything is running smoothly.”
“I wanted to try and get involved in SA and Geneseo, and improve it like everyone else wants to do––leave a little bit of a mark,” Clarke added. “It seemed like a good opportunity on the application to have a little decision-making ability and do something to help people.”