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Student Senate tables resolution to create judiciary panel

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Student Senate members elected to table a resolution that would create a judicial panel designed to remove the threat of potentially heavy executive bias Wednesday night.

The proposal, put forth by the Special Committee for Senate Reform, would alter the setup of appointments and impeachments by separating the final decision from Senate executive control.

“I obviously feel pretty passionate about this,” Treasurer Hannah Clouser said. Clouser was one of the students who presented the resolution at last week’s meeting. “It takes away a lot of bias there is and potentially adds a more ethical system.”

College of Business Senator Brian Stover was another representative who proposed the resolution and said that the judicial board would bring necessary change to the Senate format.

“I think this brings much-needed checks and balances and separations of powers that this Senate needs that other student bodies have and that we do not at this time,” Stover said.

According to Clouser, 80 percent of OU’s peer institutions already have a system like a judicial board put in place. Additionally, other Ohio schools such as University of Akron, Ohio State University and Wright State University have them.

The discussion focused on details of the resolution. Some representatives felt commissioners should still be able to be removed by executives because they serve the greater whole. Others said that those on the judicial board who knew the people in question being impeached should not sit in on the case in question.

However, other students, such as South Green Senator Essence Rivers, supported the resolution.

“You don’t really need to be a part of Senate to make sure rules line up,” Rivers said. “Like, I can look at a law and see if it lines up; I don’t need to a be a member of the government.”

Head Parliamentarian Landen Lama put in a word of finality about Senate rulings.

“We are not supposed to change the intent or effect of a resolution,” Lama said. “The proposal of this judicial panel is that the Senate is the final interpreter of whether a rule is a rule or not. The primary goal is to make sure any resolution that comes up, any rules that are going to be changed, are the correct rules.”

By the end of the discussion, Senate agreed to put off the decision for another meeting.

“I’m surprised it was tabled because at our working meeting no one seemed too opposed to the idea, and last week the body seemed optimistic to the idea,” SAC Vice Commissioner Ellenore Holbrook said. “So I am disappointed. That’s for sure.”

Additionally, a resolution on the removal of the Board of Trustees’ approval on constitutional changes was suspended indefinitely. The resolution stated the additional step of getting approval slowed down the Senate process. For something to be renamed in the constitution, the Board of Trustees would have to vote on it in June, Lama said.

Also, a resolution to appoint Paige Wilson as an East Green senator was passed.

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