Senate Beat: RJ in Doubt

In this week’s Senate Public, Student Body Senate made the decision to reduce or withdraw funding from Restorative Justice Coalition, Reed’s newest Student Accountability group, in the near future. The choice “did not seem to come as a shock” to the Restorative Justice Board, said Student Body Vice President Margot Becker, and Student Body President Safi Zenger (‘24) noted that it was the culmination of nearly two years of discussions on the matter. Those discussions have been informed by feedback from students who say that participating in Restorative Justice feels “weird” and “uncomfortable,” due to the fact that the organization’s activities are rooted in indigenous practices in a way that some students find appropriative.

As a result, after the fall term comes to an end, Senate will likely opt not to renew funding for the spring semester, expressing that Restorative Justice is primarily used by faculty and staff, and that Senate funding should therefore be directed into programs that directly serve students. Vice President Becker stated for the record that the Senate has been very transparent with RJ about these student reports, and that the decision was not arrived at lightly.

In other committee reports, President Zenger stated that a student publications meeting has been scheduled for this Friday with the Quest. In addition, the Academic Success Committee recently met with Steve Abrahão, Associate Dean for Academic Life to discuss current projects. According to the committee, Abrahão is working to develop new blurbs for courses that include student testimonials about the academic experience of the class — focusing on workload, professorial emphasis, difficulty, etc. 

Senator Jefferson Ratliff (‘25) stated that the Appointments Committee has now posted job openings for election czars and encouraged all to apply, while Senator Lennox Reeder (‘25) shared an update on thier recent meeting with the Computing Policy Committee and told students to expect “very exciting things” related to internet on campus to be rolled out in the near future. Senator Reeder also expressed concerns that students in Commons have been scraping plates of uneaten food into the trash before sending dishes through the dish return, perhaps not realizing that a compost program is run for any food left on plates that are sent through. As this is a waste, Senator Reeder therefore asked for the record that students “please put your plates in the spinner uncleaned so future generations benefit.” 

Head Treasurer Sean Brown reminded students that funding hell is this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and that the Top Six poll that determines which clubs participate closes this Friday at midnight. The Senate has also met with International Student Services to discuss why so few students at Reed study abroad compared to peer institutions. Strategies for raising this number — including getting rid of the qual to make it easier for students to study abroad during their junior year and switching to a “home model” for billing — have been discussed, but no official decisions have been made. Senators then voted unanimously to approve a request from the Quest for two new computers for the student publications office, intended to replace two that are too old to run Adobe inDesign. As the final order of business, this concluded the meeting.

Update 9/23/22: The initial publication of this article stated that Restorative Justice “uses indigenous practices.” This has been corrected to more accurately state that Restorative Justice’s practices “are rooted in” indigenous practices. The Quest apologizes for this error.

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Senate Responds to Judicial Board Co-Chairs’ Statement – Quest
7 months ago

[…] the rug out from under organizations mid-semester. We released a statement regarding the status of RJ last semester, in September. We also did not defund Restorative Justice in its entirety, the Student Body is no […]

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