Home News CSU seeks judicial board term limits

CSU seeks judicial board term limits

by Archives February 26, 2008

This March, the CSU will ask students to support one-year terms for members of the union’s judicial board (JB). If the proposed change were passed, JB membership would end on June 1 each year. Members seeking an additional term would have to re-bid for candidacy before council. Currently JB members are allowed to serve until they are no longer students. Because the proposal involves changing CSU bylaws it will not take effect unless passed by students in the March referendum.
Judicial board chairperson Tristan Teixeira, feels that the continuity and stability of the judicial branch of student governance at Concordia will be threatened if its members are to be appointed by each successive CSU council. He worries that the proposed changes would strip the board of its more experienced members and increase expenses for training new members.
“It is important to have senior members to guide the new members, and without this . . . I don’t know if the judicial board would be as functional as it is now,” said Teixeira. “Since I’ve been working hard to make [it] functional and raising it back from the dead, my work obviously would be limited to a certain date, which I think would be kind of a shame.”
The judicial board requires a minimum of three members in order to make decisions. For a seven-month period, ending last November, the board was left with only two, rendering it incapable of making any decisions. “It is expensive to train judicial board members,” he said. “If you have judicial board members who stay on for their entire degree, the investment on the part of the CSU is well worth it.”
Steven Rosenshein, a councillor for the faculty of Arts and Science who proposed the motion, said shorter terms would bring the union’s judicial branch in line with its executive. “We don’t have any other positions in the student union that are forever. For example, if a president or vice president [were to be] elected forever, people would . . . have a problem with that. I don’t think anything should be forever, I think a year makes sense.”
He also said that the cost of training should be much less, and suggested it could be provided by McGill law students for free. But Teixeira says that even training from a lawyer wouldn’t be enough.
“There’s a lot of material to cover so you can’t just pay a lawyer to come in, teach us for one hour and that’s it, we’re going to know everything,” said Teixeira. “It doesn’t work that way. There’s a lot to our jurisdiction so there’s a lot to know.”
According to Teixeira proper training of the JB would have to be done by a judge. And while he would like to get a judge to train them pro bono, he said it could take up to a year to organize. To retain the services of a judge this year would cost “a few thousand dollars,” according to Teixeira.
While CSU President Angelica Novoa declined to comment on the proposed changes, in a January interview with The Concordian, she said that students in their junior years were specifically selected when new members were appointed to the board last November – in order to maintain continuity from year to year.
In the same January interview VP Communications Noah Stewart said that he hoped these junior members would stay on the board in order to keep it “up-and-running.”
“The idea is to have this rotation, so some people gain seniority and new people come in. [ . . . ] I hope that was the goal and I hope that will mean for the future we will have a more sustainable judicial board,” said Stewart.
Novoa and Stewart said they were proud that their administration had filled the JB’s vacancies early in the year, as opposed to other years, when appointments had waited until just before the spring elections.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment