Undergraduate Assembly leaders said they will make discussion of splitting the role of the judicial inquiry officer a top agenda item this semester. UA Vice Chairperson Mike Feinberg said earlier this week that he and other UA leaders want the administration to divide the JIO position into two separate roles, a "settlement" JIO and a "prosecutor" JIO. The division was advocated last semester by student members of a provost committee reviewing the judicial system. The committee as a whole voted to reject a proposal to overhaul the JIO position. Currently, JIO Constance Goodman investigates allegations of violations of the codes of conduct and academic integrity and prosecutes any cases which are sent before a judicial panel. Goodman has come under fire from some students who charge that she acts as both a prosecutor and a judge in her current role. UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said her group's desire to change the JIO position is not a personal attack on Goodman. According to the proposal rejected by the provost committee, a "settlement" JIO would investigate and propose sanctions for violations that are resolved without going to a panel hearing. A "prosecutor" JIO would investigate and prosecute cases that are not resolved by the settlement JIO. Feinberg said that conflicts in the current JIO role have been the cause of many controversies in recent years. "It seems that there have been cases in the past where students have walked out of the JIO office complaining not so much about the decision as the system," Feinberg said. "Students should at least have faith in the system, and the UA just wants to ensure the judicial system is the most effective and fair possible." Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson, who oversees the Office of the JIO, said last night that she would "seriously consider" any suggestions the UA proposed, but declined to make any further comments. Goodman said yesterday her role is complicated and that it often involves "a lot of judgment," but added that splitting the role would be "very cumbersome." The JIO said that if her position were divided, each incident would have to be investigated twice if it could not be resolved. "I couldn't imagine the prosecutor depending on the settlement JIO investigation," Goodman said. "I could never take a case without doing my own investigation so I can't envision how the bifurcation [splitting] of the JIO could work." Judicial Charter Review Committee Chairperson Stephen Burbank said he and the majority of committee members do not think the position should be restructured because it would be inefficient for both the settlement JIO and prosecutor JIO to conduct their own investigations. Burbank also said that having two separate positions could lead students "not to take the settlement process seriously." "This could lead to a [number] greater of cases going to the prosecutor JIO and a panel hearing," the Law professor said. "A panel would probably not have the creativity or flexibility of remedies that the JIO does." College Senior John Hughes, who served on the provost's committee last year, said he thinks the JIO's position should be divided because the current situation is confusing. He said Goodman acts as both a "support system" during the settlement stage and the prosecutor during the panel hearings. "The settlement JIO would be the sympathetic ear that students need, the good cop," Hughes said. "And the prosecuting JIO would be in the position of taking the case to a hearing, the bad cop." Faculty Senate Chairperson-elect Louise Shoemaker, who also served on the provost's committee, said last night that she supports dividing the JIO position despite potential problems. "I think that having two persons may hopefully lessen the conflict of interest and bring objectivity into the process," Shoemaker said. "It will probably add time and expense to the process, but if it helps in the long run, it is probably worth it."Comments powered by Disqus
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