Honor Committee Reviews Post-Trial Procedure

A News Article by Eric Jensen

The Honor Committee tonight reviewed yet another proposal from the Procedures Ad-Hoc committee, aimed at streamlining the post-trial appeals process. Under the new system, a panel of five committee members, two from the executive committee and three from the committee at-large would review every appeal to determine whether or not a “substantial question” of fairness has been raised. In the event that there is a substantial question, a support officer would be appointed as an un-biased investigator to report back to the appeals panel on any factual questions they may have about the substance of the appeal. The same committee would then rule on the appeal and decide on the method of relief for the student[s] in question.

The proposal represents a change from the current system, under which exec determines whether or not a substantial question has been raised, and the Vice-Chair for Trials appoints an appeal commission of three committee members to make a recommendation as to whether or not to grant relief. In the event that the executive committee rejects that recommendation, the appeal is sent back for more investigation and a second recommendation, after which the executive committee is free to rule on the appeal in any way they see fit.

Catherine Anne Daley, a co-chair of the Procedures Ad-Hoc committee, voiced the opinion of the Ad-Hoc committee, saying, “We thought it would be better to take exec-committee members off of appeals, due to the fact that there would be bias issues, when they [exec] are potentially involved in the case process from initiation. We also wanted to streamline the system.”

Alexander Hawkins, also co-chair for Procedures, elaborated on the proposal, saying, “Nobody in the ad-hoc could come up with any substantive reason to have a two stage process. Rather, we could only come up with benefits for a single body system.”

Jon Overdevest, representative of the Medical School, voiced a substantive criticism of the proposal, arguing, “I would like to propose that we appoint an appeals committee for a year term, so that we maintain some consistency with the appeals process, and maintain the idea of having a static committee to review appeals, like we currently have with exec.”

The committee will continue to consider the proposal, modify it, and ultimately vote on it, together with a number of other proposals from the Procedures Ad-Hoc committee at the end of the term.

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