Letter to the Editor: A Statement from the Judicial Board

Submitted on March 17, 2021. Letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Quest or the Editorial Board.

The Judicial Board is a group of twelve students that hears formal complaints of alleged violations of the Honor Principle or college policy. Judicial Board members are appointed by the Senate Appointments Committee with the input of current Board members. Members of the Judicial Board also serve on the Sexual Misconduct Board along with staff members. Board members undergo training relating to the Board’s code and process, college policies, relevant laws, and equity and bias. 

The Board works independently of other student groups on campus including Student Senate, Honor Council, and Restorative Justice, though the Board may participate in discussions with these groups about honor or college processes or collaborate in a purely educational capacity through specific public-facing efforts. Though Board members are appointed through the Appointments Committee’s process and paid with student body funds, the Board’s training and formal process are conducted completely independently from the Senate. Senate and other student groups’ work are separate from the Board’s work; the Board is not a political body and cannot weigh in on disputes within other groups or the wider community except those which have become a Judicial Board case through the filing of a formal complaint. Our norms of judicial demeanor prevent members of the Board from issuing conclusions outside of the deliberations completed collaboratively as a hearing board at the culmination of a formal process.

Additionally, the Board is autonomous from Community Safety. While Community Safety has broad latitude to submit various types of relevant evidence to the Board, this evidence is held to the same standards of relevance and credibility as evidence gathered from the community at large. 

Complaints can be submitted to the Board by any community member concerning violations of the Honor Principle by a student. Community members are encouraged to try to settle disputes amongst themselves or seek mediation through the Honor Council or Restorative Justice before filing a formal complaint in situations when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Honor Council can also serve as a confidential resource to those who are parties in a Judicial Board case or considering filing a complaint. Community members are not bound by honor or law to participate in a Judicial Board case, but Board decisions can be applied to any current or former student who is the subject of a case. 

The Board mitigates possible instances of bias or misuse of power by its members through the recusal process. Board members are trained to recuse themselves from serving on a case if they have a close personal relationship with any of the parties involved or have encountered prior information that would make them unable to participate in the case in an unbiased manner. The Board also considers requests by parties in a case for the recusal of board members from that case due to concerns of personal bias. 

A more in-depth description of the Judicial Board and its process can be found here. Additionally, this collaborative zine outlines the different avenues of addressing harm offered by the Judicial Board, Honor Council, Restorative Justice, and SHARE. Any additional questions or concerns about the Judicial Board’s process can be directed to the current co-chairs Dylan Wong (dylrwong-jboard@reed.edu) and Tania Jaramillo (tanjarami-jboard@reed.edu). 

The Judicial Board, March 17, 2021

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