To the candidates for Student Association executive positions,
My name is Makenzie Drukker and I currently serve as the Chair of Rice University Court. I was recently reading through your candidate blurbs and discovered something concerning. Justin Onwenu, a candidate for External Vice President, does not know what University Court does. This affliction is common among Rice students. However, one of my goals this year has been to promote student outreach and student knowledge of judicial resources, so I feel obligated to try to remedy this problem.
University Court is a 17-member student panel that adjudicates cases under the Code of Student Conduct and the Alcohol Policy. As the judicial organ of the Student Association, it also has the power to adjudicate cases arising from the SA itself. Further, it serves to create a line of communication between students and administrators.
If the language of that last sentence sounds familiar, you may recognize it from Justin Onwenu’s campaign statement, in which he pledged to “establish greater lines of communication between students and faculty on alcohol, honor-code, and SJP policies.” He reiterated this same pledge several times during the SA Debates on Friday. I am still not sure how Onwenu plans to accomplish this goal, but it seems to me that utilizing existing campus resources — like University Court and Honor Council — would be the easiest and most efficient way to do so. It would delight me to tell you that Onwenu’s campaign promises were not empty, and that he has in fact been working diligently with me to achieve his goal. Unfortunately, that is not true. Onwenu has never approached the University Court.
I am disappointed that a candidate for such an important office would make this promise without having done any of the research or the work to get the ball rolling. I would hate to see SA resources wasted in creating a subcommittee or an advisory board when consultation with an existing body (and major stakeholder) could have solved the problem just as easily. If I may, I would like to suggest two ways for you to make the most of your terms, should you win your respective races.
Do your research, and collaborate. There exists a plethora of resources on this campus, and so many are under-utilized. As an executive member of the SA, I hope that you will gather as much information as possible, and as much input from stakeholders as possible, before you begin any project. It is more work for you, but it will ultimately benefit your project and your constituents. After you have done your research, collaborate! During the SA Debates, many of you promised to make an active effort to work with Colleges and student organizations; I hope that promise is not empty. With the number of student organizations on this campus, there is no reason any organization should have to take on a major project by itself. Some organizations tend to be closed to cooperation, but I can promise you that University Court is willing and ready to work with you.
I truly hope you will take this advice into consideration, and I wish you the best of luck in your elections.
Makenzie K. Drukker, University Court Chair