Student Organizations May Get A Stronger Voice

The Undergraduate Student Government recently passed a statement of position concerning student representation on the sanctions board of student activities. In the statement of position the Student Government promoted the placement of Justices from the Student Government Judiciary on the sanctions board. The statement did not specify how many students the USG would like to sit on the board, the general intention appears to be just to get some student representation on a board that currently has no student representation. This is especially important because the board currently holds the responsibility of punishing student organizations for violations of university policy. The sanctions board is governed by UConn’s Community Standards as outlined in the university’s student code. If the sanctions board finds evidence of wrongdoing a number of steps can be taken. Depending on the severity of the offense warnings can be issued, privileges taken away, or, if an offense is particularly bad, a student organization may lose recognition. This usually means that a student organization would have to reapply for recognition by the university. There is an appeals process for any student organizations that may believe they have been unfairly or inappropriately punished by the sanctions board.

Student representation on the sanctions board is not a bad idea, as the board is tasked with punishing student organizations, it is only fitting that some students have a say in the board’s judgement. However, rather than USG Justices, USG should try to get former CEOs or CFOs of Tier IIs to sit on the board. These students would have firsthand experience in navigating the policies that concern student organizations where USG Justices may not always have the same experience. Alternatively, USG could ask for a member of another Tier III to sit on the board with a USG Justice. The point is not to minimize USG’s presence, but to maximize student representation on the board, if USG ultimately is able to obtain the placement of student representatives on the sanctions board.

While the Student Government has made his statement of position, a statement of position is only symbolic. This statement sets forth a new goal for USG, and is only the first step to attaining student representation on the sanctions board for student organizations. The Undergraduate Student Government and the Division of Student Affairs and Community Standards will now need to work out an agreement that allows student representation on the sanctions board. It is of course always possible that USG and Student Affairs may not be able to come to an agreement. Hopefully, this won’t be the case.

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