Tuesday, February 18

J-Board hears Roth case closing arguments

Deliberations regarding legality of OSAC bylaw changes by facilities commissioner begin

The Student Judicial Board heard closing arguments Wednesday in the case of Lipkin and Huddy v. Roth pertaining to the legality of Office Space Allocation Committee bylaw changes proposed by Facilities Commissioner Galen Roth.

Addison Huddy, one of the two petitioners, made the first closing statement. Huddy said the petitioners had shown during the course of the hearing that Roth stepped outside her jurisdiction and made the changes illegally.

“The 2008 bylaws specifically omit the Facilities commissioner as the OSAC chair,” Huddy said. “She is specifically barred from this responsibility.”

Roth had asserted during her first testimony that she had tried to obtain the updated set of bylaws but was unable to do so.

“The difficulty of obtaining the law in no way invalidates it. If Roth had patience, persistence and initiative in obtaining these laws, she would have been able to do so. These are qualities of a good elected official,” Huddy added.

Furthermore, Roth said during her second testimony that having attended USAC meetings last year, she had noted that council members had jurisdiction in making changes.

“I attended these meetings, and it was cemented in my mind that councilmembers could make changes. The actions of last year’s council never resulted in retribution,” Roth said.

However, the petitioners asked the board to base their decision on Roth’s actions this year rather than account for past USAC actions.

“Past council actions do not change the illegality of Roth’s actions,” Huddy said.

Roth, on the other hand, said during her closing statement that the interpretation of the bylaws made by the petitioners was “illogical.”

“Neither the constitutional bylaws nor the guidelines state specifically that USAC cannot make changes to the OSAC bylaws,” Roth said.

In addressing the charge that she was acting in bad faith, Roth asked the board to consider her sincerity.

“This is my sincere interpretation of the documents at hand. I believe this is the way the documents should be read.

“All changes made were positive. I was acting in the intention of supporting students and student groups. I was acting in good faith,” she said.

Before both sides presented their closing arguments, the board heard Roth’s second testimony.

Roth said she believed the changes she made were legitimate after receiving encouragement from the administrative representatives of USAC.

“There was overwhelming consent from the advisers that I felt these changes were valid. They said USAC should be proactive in making these guideline changes. Their comments seem to support the interpretation that councilmembers could make such changes,” Roth said.

In defending her jurisdiction over making these changes, Roth again stated that councilmembers are not banned from proposing such changes.

“The constitution and the bylaws say that the OSAC chair can make bylaw changes, but it does not say that councilmembers cannot make changes,” Roth said.

The petitioners expressed concern in allowing an elected member of USAC to propose changes to the OSAC bylaws, saying that it would impede the independent nature of allocating office space to student groups.

“If USAC is allowed to make OSAC changes, then nothing is stopping them from participating in the grading process of office space allocation,” Huddy said in his closing argument.

“By keeping true to the bylaws, elected officials stay true to the students they serve,” he added.

The board began deliberations after adjourning the hearing.

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