Senate Responds to Judicial Board Co-Chairs’ Statement

Anoushka and Sage (and the Quest!),

Thank you for your concern. It is important to hear from the Chairs of our Accountability groups, and we appreciate your feedback. However, we would like to share some information regarding the situation with the Restorative Justice coalition. 

We apologize for any strain placed on the working relationship between J-Board, Senate, and other accountability groups. Overall, Senate anticipates that, should the Judicial Board wish to speak to us regarding any concerns they have, we feel that they have the means to do so. Previously, J-Board has maintained a relationship with Senate regarding their concerns, and in fact used that relationship to discuss their discomfort regarding RJC as an organization. However, considering J-Board is a fellow accountability group that also receives funding from Senate, it would be unprofessional to discuss supporting another group’s wages in a decision-making capacity. Our decision was also stated in the Quest, and at Public last semester.

Our meeting with the Accountability groups this semester was scheduled unintentionally when RJC members could not attend, and in the future we will make more of an effort to make sure everyone who wishes to attend can. That being said, we were notified that Cameron Tanner said that he could come on RJC’s behalf. We assume that the communication within these groups is sufficient enough that one member can attend and update the rest of their team.

Regarding hiring, Senate would like to clarify that as a body that manages over 90 positions, we can only do so much to promote positions as well as follow-up on our organizations. It is the purview of AppComm to promote equitable hiring practices, but we can only strongly encourage the choosing of diverse applicants. RJ holds final say in the hiring of applicants. In regards to the hiring and promoting of jobs, it is the responsibility of the student organization that the position is being hired under to do the promoting of the position. Positions are published by AppComm near the top of each edition of SB info as well announced at Public each week and published in Senate Beat. That being said, it is especially under the purview of an Accountability group to create an avenue to prevent their own causing of harm. Student Body President Safi Zenger communicated concerns to Restorative Justice directly as early as November 2021, and again in February 2022. How exactly to better their relationship with the community was for the Coalition to decide, rather than for Senate to dictate.

We are not setting a precedent that Senate can pull 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 longer funding their wages. Their operational budget does not come from Senate, and that, as far as Senate is aware, is still accessible for them. We are aware that departmental budgets are allocated on the calendar year, and thus notified them prior to the start of the 2023 calendar year in hopes that they would seek departmental funding for their salaries. 

Wage Review Board is a position that makes recommendations regarding the increase or decrease of paid student positions. They are not a board that makes full hiring or firing decisions, and does not make those recommendations. Before participating on Senate, Head Treasurer, Wani Pandey, served on the last Wage Review Board. It was not under Wani and the other Wage Review board member’s directive to decide whether organizations receive funding, just what the salaried amounts should be. If there are any questions about this process or any way that Senate can clarify it, we invite you to reach out to Senate and Treasury about wages. 

Senate would like to iterate that this is not an immediate decision, nor is it one we take lightly. Vice President Sean Brown intended the phrase “forgot” to imply that we had not mentioned it earlier during the public meeting, rather than that we were blasé or casual about the situation. This conversation has been in the works for many semesters, specifically with the Chairs of the Coalition. It is our assumption that they practice effective communication and transparency amongst themselves, and the information we shared with the Chairs would reach the rest of the coalition. We would like to again emphasize that we are not defunding Restorative Justice as a whole, but rather that we have been elected with the belief that the Student Body should not bear the burden of these wages.

We also would refer those concerned with the participation of Honor Council members on Senate to discuss that with Honor Council as a whole, as it is not within Senate’s purview to decide who can and cannot be a part of Honor Council.

Senate would be happy to sit down with the entirety of the Judicial Board to discuss their concerns further. Hope this communication helps clarify the situation!

The Reed College Autonomous Student Body Senate

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