Judicial Board: Giving a voice to students
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 23:10
At the University of Southern Mississippi, the Student Government Association is similar to that of the United States government. It makes laws that govern the university, and it has branches in place to carry out those laws.
One of those SGA branches is Judicial Board, a student-run liaison between students and the university.
According to their website, Judicial Board is a committee of nine students who have original jurisdiction in all cases in which a student violates a university regulation. The board also has sole authority in any and all cases regarding violations of the SGA constitution and code.
Cases such as parking violations or other on-campus violations can be appealed through the Judicial Board. Students are given the option to write appeals and submit them to the board or speak in front the nine-member jury and appeal their cases.
Christopher Brewer, vice chairman of the board and junior forensic science major, stressed that the Judicial Board is a board of students working for students.
“We [the Judicial Board] want students to understand their rights as students at this university and what their privileges are,” Brewer said. “Students shouldn’t be scared of coming before us to appeal a ticket or a disciplinary issue. We’re friendly people, and we truly want to help students out in any way possible within our jurisdiction.”
Judicial Board members are also involved in all aspects of SGA. Members attend various SGA meetings to ensure all branches have complete knowledge of all of the happenings within SGA and USM.
“We consider ourselves a vehicle for students to express their concern about any issues within our jurisdiction,” said Tyler Lewis, a member of the board and junior criminal justice major. “As a board, we do everything in our power to see what we can do to help students, and we want students to realize we are acting in their best interest, no matter the decision made.”
Savannah Howell, a junior nutrition major, said discovering that students have the opportunity to appeal parking tickets and go before a board strictly for students was a surprise after transferring from another school where a similar board did not exist.
“Just knowing that there is a board like the Judicial Board at Southern Miss that is dedicated to listening to students and hearing them out while also standing their ground and doing their job makes university life not so intimidating,” Howell said. “It feels good to know someone is on your side.”
“We are here for the students, and we want students to be aware of what Judicial Board has to offer,” Brewer said. “We also want students to take a look at the SGA Constitution on the SGA website so all can be aware of what the constitution says exactly.”
The board meets every Monday at 3:30 p.m. in Union Room D. The Judicial Board requests students follow procedure when submitting or making an appeal. To find out more information about the Judicial Board or the procedure for filing an appeal, visit SGA’s website at www.usm.edu/sga.