Letter to the Editor: An Intro to JBoard and How to Keep it Student-led

We’ve heard from a number of students that they are unsure of exactly what the Judicial Board (JBoard) does, we hope this intro clears up some uncertainties! 

Hi! We are the JBoard Co-chairs, Nana Branker-McLean and Nicole Chan (she/hers), and we – like our other members – joined the Judicial Board because we care about the welfare of Reedies, and some have had or known others who had bad experiences with legal or collegiate adjudicative processes and want to minimize, if not completely diminish, those experiences at Reed.

As the new Judicial Board Co-Chairs, we are taking a deeper look into how we can best serve the Reed community in a way that makes all students feel comfortable and that their experience and identity matters. As women of color attending Reed, we have had firsthand experience with the struggles that minority students face when dealing with college policy and how that may differ in comparison to their peers. We have increased our bias training by collaborating with Reed faculty and staff to further address our language when sanctioning, emphasizing not working on precedent (for instance, cases involving international students), and our members’ awareness of their own implicit biases. 

Now that we’ve covered what we are currently improving on, let’s discuss what we have done historically.

The Judicial Board is an accountability group consisting of up to twelve students – right now we are running on a deficit, so please apply – 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. However, due to our deficit, we are going to begin utilizing an option in our bylaws that allows us to temporarily hire (paid) members until they are officially hired through the Student Body Senate’s Appointments Committee. Being a Judicial Board member includes weekly training sessions related to Reed’s judicial process, trauma-informed investigation, bias, sanctioning, international student perspectives, and more. 

Filing a complaint (Slideshow/Examples can be found on our Instagram @jboardatreed):

Any current or former student, staff, or faculty member may serve as a complainant by submitting a complaint regarding alleged violations concerning a current or former student, who is the respondent. Within our process, only students may be respondents. The events alleged in the complaint need to have occurred when both parties were members of the community. Judicial Board complaints should be sent to the co-chairs via email and should address the following topics: the grounds on which the complainant(s) believes that a violation of the honor principle or college rules has occurred, a brief description of the actions that the complainant(s) believes do constitute a violation, a list of the names of the persons believed to have committed a violation if the names of such violators are known to the complainant(s), a list of witnesses with information pertinent to the case, a statement of why informal mediation was unsuccessful or did not occur, and a statement that consents to the disclosure of the complaint to the respondent(s). The Board can request that the complainant revise and resubmit their complaint if any of these topics are not covered within the complaint. 

For cases similar to the situations described above, or student-student complaints JBoard recommends that parties attempt to go through the mediation process via our other student accountability groups, Honor Council and Restorative Justice. Cases that cannot be resolved via mediation processes include Academic Misconduct, Sexual Misconduct (Title IX), and severe Alcohol and Other Drugs violations. This is because due to the severity of the situation, particularly in sexual misconduct, it is not appropriate to attempt mediation. It is important to note that when Board chairs receive a complaint with elements which allege violations of the Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual Misconduct (DHSM) policy, the chairs may share the contents of that complaint with Board advisors and the Title IX coordinator in order to ensure it goes through the correct process (The Judicial Board process or Title IX process).

Separate processes exist for complaints regarding staff and faculty; complaints against faculty members may be directed to the dean of the faculty, and complaints against staff members may be filed with the Director of Human Resources or with any vice president or dean.

Lastly, we want to emphasize the importance of JBoard being student-led. We all know how Reed operates and how it can (un)intentionally harm rather than help students looking for assistance in resolving interpersonal conflicts and/or sexual violence. That’s why it is vital to keep JBoard student-led. However, as we navigate the realities of our current situation, where seven members – all of which are qualing or thesising – are juggling the workload of twelve, we must address the potential challenges that lie ahead. In the unfortunate event that we are unable to sustain and increase our student members, admin will take over. This shift in responsibility carries significant implications. Cases will be adjudicated by admin, faculty, and staff, who do not have the student perspective and affect how and to whom sanctions are enforced. For instance deciding the issuance of Priority (and any) No-Contact Orders (NCOs) which offer survivors priority over on-campus spaces, including housing. If admin takes over they also have the ability to impose suspensions and expulsions. The latter two sanctions we have not recommended for over three years. Moreover, the administration would also oversee the appeals process, fundamentally altering the dynamics of how JBoard operates and Reed’s overall adjudicative process.

Next Monday (10/9), Senate will be having a job fair from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM to represent open positions funded by them, which include JBoard. We hope to see anyone who is interested there!  

If you have any questions that you feel weren’t answered, please stop by our co-chairs’ office hours in the JBoard office (next to SHARE) every Friday, 1 pm to 3 pm in the GCC. If those times don’t work for you or you want to file a complaint then email both co-chairs (briannab-jboard@reed.edu and nicolexc-jboard@reed.edu). We are more than happy to answer any questions/hypotheticals that do not involve Title IX allegations, as we are obligatory reporters.

The Judicial Board Co-Chairs

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