RJC Hammers Out Relaunch
Published: Friday, March 25, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 22:03
The Residential Judicial Council revealed its finalized plans for elections and structural changes at a town hall Wednesday night.
Over the past few years, diminished student interest and concerns about the efficiency of the organization affected the RJC's reputation. The RJC, which aims to review and resolve violations to the Student's Code of Conduct committed by university students, was then placed on hiatus this academic year.
At the town hall, the Council Steering Committee announced the final reforms, which they hope will allow the organization to make a fresh start next fall.
One of the central changes is the process for appointing RJC members. Council seats, formerly assigned on a voluntary basis, will now be decided in a general election that will be held April 4 to April 7. Ballots will be emailed only to residents living in university housing because of RJC's specific jurisdiction.
Eligible candidates must have lived in an on-campus dorm or apartment for at least one year and cannot have any outstanding disciplinary sanctions.
The students leading the Steering Committee hope to draw a variety of applicants committed to the administration and the student body from all areas of the Hilltop. Those vying for council seats must submit a campaign platform to the organization by March 30. Before the election, voters will receive a short statement from each candidate.
"We want those who run to have some kind of stake in their community," said Michael Barclay (COL '12), a member of the Steering Committee. "RJC is another way students can empower themselves."
The Steering Committee will also institute the previously proposed changes to the group's operating procedures in the coming academic year.
The RJC will hear cases once a week, splitting the cases between three separate subcouncils. At the turn of each hour, members will rotate positions. Under the old system, case hearings used to be spread out throughout the week.
According to four year RJC member Natalie Punchak (COL '11), this structure will afford RJC members the opportunity to work together and decide cases in a more objective manner.
Several students at the town hall meeting said the success of the elections and procedural reforms will depend on the council's public relations efforts.
"It's hard to say [if the council will be successful] at this juncture," Andrew Marsh (COL '13) said. "The problem is, from what I've seen of the RJC and what I know about RJC, that they are not very visible on campus."
Jeffrey Zerda (SFS '12) admitted that he had no knowledge of the council's work before attending the town hall, but he thinks that if word about the RJC spreads, more students will become involved.
"It is just a matter of getting this out to people and to students, whether or not they know about it," Zerda said, "My gut instinct is yes, but we will see how it turns out."