Reed Resources: Judicial Board

This week’s Reed Resources features the Judicial Board (J-Board). Co-chairs Stevie Hoesel and Val Lee sat down with the Quest to discuss what’s what with the group.

J-Board considers themselves “A group of students who are trained in college policy, state and federal law, and use that to help determine productive outcomes for cases that are brought to us.”

Lee emphasizes consistency and neutrality with J-Board cases. Beyond just adjudication, J-Board is “trained in things like implicit bias and trauma-informed investigation.” Those aspects are placed at the forefront of J-Board’s training. 

Students can bring anything to J-Board, but more specifically, “Honor Principle violations and college policies such as [Alcohol and Other Drugs] and academic misconduct” are the mainstays of J-Boards purview. 

J-Board is the “only student group that can adjudicate and create long term outcomes for students that are institutionally sanctioned. And we’re also the only student organization on campus that is trained to take on cases of sexual misconduct and all of the [Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual Misconduct cases]. We work very closely with the Title IX coordinator for all of those things.” states Hoesel. 

Participation in a J-Board case is not necessary if a party is involved in a case. J-Board as a body however, will “see it to the end. And then in terms of outcomes… we have the ability to determine non-mutual outcomes. So maybe that means no contact orders or expulsion for someone who has caused harm to our community which you wouldn’t necessarily see in the other groups,”  Lee explains. 

J-Board, alongside working on the Accountability Groups Zine (linked below!), noticed the confusion previously with the nomenclature of Honor Groups. The switch to Accountability Groups is “kind of a nod to the way that all of these groups are thinking about how they engage with the community,” the chairs explain.

The Board has worked hard this past year to continue outreach to the wider Reed community. They produced a Zine on accountability and Accountability Groups at Reed, and also did specified outreach to particular groups of students on campus. “Previous chairs have worked with International Student Services to have an info session, and then we also had a broader info session with the rest of the community to talk about specific issues facing each group. Since J-Board does have statistics on what kind of cases happen frequently, and all of the information associated with the previous chairs were able to make a determination that specific outreach needed to happen to different groups. Outreach meaning education and conversations, facilitating greater understanding of how the process works with different college policies, the agency that students have during the process and also before initiating the process,” Hoesel describes.

Hoesel continues, “We are able to go to departments and be like, ‘Hey, this is the kind of case that we see overrepresented by this particular population of students, maybe it would be wise if you created a more robust support system in x, y, and z ways… So a lot of J-Board’s work that we’re really interested in is preventative because we are privy to what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Lee adds, “A lot of our efforts, even if they’re not outwardly facing, we’re internally assessing. Something we thought about doing was creating some kind of feedback channel, but it’s kind of difficult on a small campus to maintain anonymity.”

Hoesel wants to emphasize that although “J-Board is often framed in line with the U.S. judicial system, and although we have a lot of similar vocabulary, it’s a very different space with a very different intention than a punitive process.” Lee continues, “All J-Board resolutions seek to repair with the intention of being educational at the end of the day.”

Students are always welcome to swing by J-Board’s office hours, and “bring hypotheticals, or talk a little bit more in depth about what the Honor Principle or different college policies are. And we’re also open to hearing what students might want to see from us going forward… we’ll take on projects such as the zine or looking at past cases. We haven’t done that yet, and so we’d be happy to hear ideas for what that might look like,” Lee explains.

Students can find more information on the J-Board website, including the full list of members on the website. 

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