What is the MCSG Judicial Council?

By Erin Newton

Sometimes, even MCSG needs help. While the problem at hand (usually) does not call for the Ghostbusters, it can typically go to us: Macalester’s Judicial Council. If you’re currently wondering one or two things, namely: “We have a Judicial council?” and something to the effect of “… what? What are they even for?” there is no need to worry. Not only is that the typical response, but mine when I was nominated. The Judicial Council is a group of three students who serve year long terms. Each academic year, in the fall, Dean of Students Jim Hoppe nominates several candidates to fill the three positions. The candidates are then vetted by and confirmed by a session of the Legislative Body (LB) of MCSG. Current council members include: Sam DelSerra ’12, Kwame Fynn ’13 and Erin Newton ’14. Council members are available to act as impartial arbiters should conflict or uncertainty over MCSG’s constitution or bylaws arise. When considering what to bring to the council’s attention, however, it is important to remember that there are specific rules governing what we can and cannot address. The full constitution and bylaws are available online at www.macalester.edu/mcsg. In the past, relevant issues have typically fallen into three categories. The first category is typically concern over or violation of MCSG constitution or bylaws and/or procedure. This might include, for example, a student organization leader or MCSG member having found that protocol had been skipped somewhere, or even insufficiently clear on a particular issue. Secondly: violations of MCSG executive responsibilities. These might include overstepping the boundaries and responsibilities of the particular office. Thirdly: election disputes, namely those that cannot be solved by existing MCSG procedure. Should there be uncertainty as to the appropriate course of action within existing protocols, or conflict of interests, then the council can be appealed to for arbitration. However, there are two prime prerequisites that should be considered before applying for help. First and foremost, MCSG’s existing legal process must be exhausted. If that is the case, the Judicial Council would consider reviewing a case if established procedures had not been followed. Secondly, the council can only intercede once all appropriate avenues for amends have been made. The council should only have to act as a final arbiter should both existing bylaws and debate around them fail or stagnate. The council cannot, for example, intercede because a student organization feels as though they did not receive adequate funding. Specifically, there must be concerns that are constitutional in nature and/or direct violations of MCSG procedure. Say Macalester Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness (MZAP) felt as though they did not receive enough funding for Twinkies. In the process of their budget review, MCSG must have acted against or outside of the scope of their bylaws for MZAP to raise the issue with the council. This editorial is being run in the interest of making the Judicial Council more welcome to MCSG members, student organization leaders and our peers at large. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. refresh –>