Yesterday, the new student appointments to the Judicial Board (J-Board) were released to students, staff and faculty in an email from Associate Dean of Upperclass Students Lesley Levy. The new members were informed of their acceptance on February 22, but due to an administrative oversight, the rest of the College was not informed until this week.
The J-Board publicizes its membership in order to help make its hearings fair and honest.
“It is important to notify the community each year regarding the names of the student members of the Judicial Board, so that the entire Judicial process can be as transparent as possible,” wrote Levy in an email to the Orient.
As the new members cannot act on cases until the 2017-2018 academic year, the delay in notification will not affect the board’s transparency.
In total, the board accepted seven new members: three sophomores—Kamaal Palmer, Anarelis Ramirez and Cody Todesco—and four first years—Grace Fenwick, Emma Kellogg, Sam Langan and Anais Leroy. With only four graduating seniors this year, the J-Board’s size will increase from 12 to 16 students next year.
The decision to increase the size of the J-Board was a deliberate one, and advertised by Levy in her email announcing the opening of the J-Board application on January 20. With more members, the board can more easily avoid conflicts and better accommodate the caseload and its members’ other pursuits.
“The primary reason for the increase is to accommodate Board members who study abroad or take other leaves of absence, and because there have been more Judicial Board cases over the past two academic years,” Levy wrote.
Twenty-four cases were referred to the J-Board during the last academic year.
“If there are any conflicts of interest it is a practical benefit that we have a larger group to select from,” said Chair of the J-Board Mike Pun ’17.
Pun also emphasized that expanding the J-Board’s membership can make its makeup more diverse, something he believes is invaluable.
“[More diversity] allows for more distinct views and perspectives to be on the Board and I think that is definitely a good thing,” Pun said. “There’s not really one Bowdoin experience and to be able to get a Board that can be as representative as possible of all the different types of Bowdoin experiences that are out there is something that we definitely strive to do.”
The new members will be tasked with hearing cases concerning the College’s Academic Honor Code and Social Code and several said that they hope they can help shape the Bowdoin community and maintain those values.
“I really liked Bowdoin’s community when I was applying, so I feel like [I wanted to apply] to come up with a community standard and make sure everyone is being a valuable member of the community,” said Palmer. “I feel like, for those who aren’t being a valuable member of the community, making sure that they have proper tools to be able to become those valuable members [is important].”
He emphasized the importance of considering all factors of an individual’s situation.
“I always want to make sure that if somebody’s intent wasn’t to do wrong, that that was definitely taken into consideration,” said Palmer. “For instance if somebody went to a bad high school and didn’t really have to write a lot of papers and they were confused on plagiarism … making sure that that was fully taken into consideration.”