Allegheny Student Government debated the usefulness of its Judicial Review Board during its meeting on Tuesday, April 17. Along with discussing possible ASG constitution revisions, the organization listened to the constitution for the Minority Association of Premedical Students and received an update from the College Committees Council.
The Judicial Review Board. JRB consists of appointed students who “review all cases when an act of the legislative body, the ASG President, or any other member of the ASG body is constitutionally (ASG Constitution) called into question,” according to the ASG website. Currently ASG members cannot sit on JRB.
Attorney General Alex Venezia, ’19, said he and other cabinet members had been discussing the possibility of removing JRB from ASG’s constitution throughout the year and replacing all the jobs currently conducted by JRB with the rules committee.
“The change is just moving the description of JRB … into rules committee,” Venezia said. “The JRB in my opinion is that it’s kind of a superfluous part of ASG.”
Venezia said in the case of a possible infraction, the information is first delivered to him before it is given to the rules committee. If the rules committee decides there is any merit to the allegation, the information is passed to JRB, which uses the description of the infraction to gather facts, conduct interviews, and provide a recommendation for a punishment.
The recommendation goes to the Senate, which votes on whether or not the punishment should be given, according to Venezia.
“In our opinion, there’s no point in having JRB if the rules committee can serve all of these same functions without having another … staff,” Venezia said.
Class of 2020 President Jason Ferrante said he did not think that was the only purpose of JRB.
“Maybe one of the purposes of JRB that we haven’t realized is that it is somewhat of an outside check on our power,” Ferrante said.
Using the hypothetical example of a popular ASG member being accused of an infraction, Ferrante said that member may not receive due punishment because there will be no outside group to hold ASG members accountable.
“My thinking is instead of removing JRB from the process, is there a way to strengthen JRB’s role in the process and remove the rules [committee’s] step we have to go through first?” Ferrante said.
Another concern raised by the idea of removing JRB is the possibility of someone on the rules committee having an infraction filed against them. Venezia responded to the concern with the assurance he could include a provision in the revised constitution.
“It’s a provision I can put in through this committee,” Venezia said. “That somebody else, possibly the president, would then step in and serve as the head of the Rules Committee.”
Class of 2018 Vice President Zachary Javorsky agreed with Ferrante’s earlier point, saying he believed JRB should be made stronger.
“I think JRB is a mechanism that instead of weakening, we should actually strengthen, and take things out of the rules [committee] purview and put it under JRB specifically,” Javorsky said. “Then we have an actual, true, unbiased outside body to evaluate the constitutionality of [the organization].”
After discussing the possibility of removing JRB, Javorsky made a motion to deny the proposed changes to the ASG constitution and instruct the rules committee to look at methods of strengthening JRB. The motion passed.
Along with the ASG constitution, senators also looked at the MAPS constitution during the meeting.
MAPS President Tyanna Harris, ’19, said she wants the organization to focus on minority groups who are premedical students. She believes it will be a good focus group for incoming first-years and sophomores. Although MAPS would be similar to the Allegheny Pre-Health Club, Harris said she would rather work with the other premedical club rather than compete with it.
“I don’t want it to be a separation,” Harris said. “One thing I would encourage people who were interested in MAPS [to do] is to attend Pre-Health [Club] because that’s the whole umbrella term is pre-health. [MAPS] is just a slight subdivision.”
The constitution passed its initial vote and will receive final confirmation during the next meeting.
At the end of the meeting, Javorsky said he plans to try to pass a resolution by the end of the year and wanted to listen to what other ASG members thought needed to be included in the resolution.
Among the suggestions offered by ASG, Ashely Leonard, ’20, said she would like to see feminine products put into bathrooms across campus and Co-Director of Student Affairs Travis Court, ’18, said he wanted better transparency concerning the school’s remodeling plans.
“Everyone has the monthly visit if you’re a woman, and if you have class in Carnegie [Hall] and you live in [North Village], and you’re not able to get up [to North Village] quick enough between classes, and also the library,” Leonard said. “That’s a concern I’ve heard from a lot of women this year.”
Court said he knew there was a lot of confusion amongst students concerning the changes being made to the Merriman Bookstore and the College Post Office and Mailing Services.
Javorsky said he plans to speak with different people about specific aspects to the resolution, including the course deletions that have been occurring recently at Allegheny and the possibility of extending the Winslow Health Center’s weekend hours. Javorsky said after speaking with other ASG members and students, he can propose the ideas to the ASG General Assembly again.