Editorial: Scoping out a solution
Student Senate has chance to set things right in SCOPE case
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 03:02
On Sunday night in McConnell 212, senator Andrew Guilliams will present a resolution to the Student Senate that has a chance to right some of the wrongs in the punishment brought down on SCOPE.
If passed, the resolution will recommend the restructuring of SCOPE’s advisory board so that it is no longer made up of any members with a conflict of interest. It will also recommend that a restructured advisory board review the removal of all former members of SCOPE after they were all kicked out of the organization late last semester. Nine underclassmen that were removed have since been allowed back into SCOPE.
The conflict of interest in the advisory board is referring to one of the board’s members, Coordinator of Leadership & Student Organization Services Nate Hastings, and how he was one of the complainants against SCOPE in the org’s initial disciplinary hearings. The hearings were, of course, in regard to an April 2012 theft in Portsmouth by one of SCOPE’s members.
Hastings and Dave Zamansky, assistant director for student leadership, were the complainants during the disciplinary hearing decision in August of 2012. One of their sanction recommendations was that SCOPE be suspended until fall of 2014. The Judicial Officer originally imposed that suspension, but SCOPE won an appeal to have that suspension deferred so long as the organization complied with set of requirements, including revising organizational manuals and leadership job descriptions. SCOPE was also not allowed to complete any internal activities or hold meetings unless they were authorized and supervised by a permanent advisory board.
Of course, the judicial officer also ruled that the advisory board would have the power to restructure SCOPE by conducting “an immediate review of and subsequent revocation of membership of those members who knew or should have know about the theft.” As this editorial staff has stated in the past, that was a ridiculous, broad-sweeping mandate.
But perhaps just as head-scratching was placing Hastings on the advisory board after he was a complainant in the disciplinary hearings. His position in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership might appear to make him an obvious choice to be on the board. But in this case, it is akin to making the prosecutor the judge after the jury has found the defendant guilty.
With Hastings on the advisory board, all SCOPE members were removed from the organization in November. At the beginning of this semester, nine of those members were allowed to rejoin SCOPE. All nine were underclassmen; juniors and seniors were not allowed back, for no real reason other than the fact that the advisory board felt they should take more responsibility because they were older, according to one returning member.
Had SCOPE been suspended until fall of 2014, those same juniors and seniors would have all graduated by the time the org returned to campus. SCOPE wasn’t suspended, but the juniors and seniors have effectively been shut out from returning to the org anyway. The complainant essentially gets his sanction, one way or the other.
That is, unless the Student Senate gets it right and votes for Guilliam’s resolution on Sunday night. It is technically just a request by the senate, but it will bring attention to the way in which the SCOPE case has been mishandled. The restructuring of the advisory board and the review of its decisions would represent a step in the right direction. It would not just be a win for SCOPE, but for any student organization that wants to see the justice system work properly instead of being manipulated.