RHA fails to reach quorum for vote on judicial branch

Not enough representatives were in attendance to pass legislation.

The addition of a judicial branch to the Residence Halls Association has been in the works with the Policy and Rules Committee since early October. The idea was formally presented as an act to representatives at Congress on Feb. 7.

But when it came time to vote Monday, RHA did not have the necessary quorum to approve or not approve the act.

RHA Speaker of Congress Michael Crawford said he and RHA President Lauren Thomas did not have an official way to count the votes during Congress, but that there are usually more representatives in attendance, meaning voting is not an issue.

“We had a very close number of representatives there and we thought that we barely had quorum, but when we checked the list after the votes were cast, we actually only had 26 representatives there,” said Crawford. “Only 26 people could vote and quorum needs 27 votes, so the judicial branch will go back to Congress and be re-voted on two weeks from Monday at our next congress.”

Chris Chandler said representatives Jared Grafman, of The Maneater staff, Trace Johnson and himself had been working on organizing a judicial branch for a couple of months.

When Johnson presented the plan Monday night, he said it had the backing of Residential Life.

According to the document, the judicial branch would serve as an alternate body to residential life staff members in overseeing student conduct violations, in addition to upholding the RHA Constitution and Bylaws and serving as an independent intermediary between the RHA legislative and executive branches.

“I know I have had problems with people on my floor and I would like a second opinion from someone aside from my hall coordinator,” representative Amber Aureli said. “I feel like if we had a system like this it would benefit people like me who have had problems in their halls.”

Representatives also shared their opinions on peer conduct violation discipline.

“If peers are not smart enough to make (conduct violation decisions), we might as well disband RHA right now, because that is ultimately what we are doing right now,” representative Devin Kelsey said. “Right now I am in support of a judicial branch, but if we don’t like it after the bylaws are written we can vote against it!”

The students who are elected to the judicial branch will have to undergo training to ensure that student’s rights are not being violated.

“The RHA president nominates three candidates, the speaker picks three and the department of Res Life may nominate three,” Johnson said. “These candidates must then go through an approval process with Residential Life and they will be FERPA certified.”

Johnson said right now the addition of this branch costs RHA absolutely nothing and is not taking away representatives from RHA Congress.

“You only have to be a resident when you are appointed to this court, this was an agreement with Residential Life and the conduct committee to avoid a rapid exchange of members,” Johnson said. “We already have more than five people who are interested in the branch who are not a part of RHA.”

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