The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Welcome changes in Grinnell: new JudCo and bike path

A new bike path to WalMart

The completion of the bike path to Wal-Mart is a perfect answer to the needs of the Grinnell community. Up until this project’s completion, students and community cyclists have put themselves and drivers at risk by sharing the busy shoulder of Highway 146. We applaud the gracious funding from the City of Grinnell, Grinnell Tourism Group and Imagine Grinnell, as well as the self-serving funding from Wal-Mart itself, that has facilitated this expansion of bike accessibility. With this new mode of transportation, running small errands no longer requires the unnecessary operation of a gas-fueled vehicle. In addition, the path will provide another venue for exercise and recreation.

JudCo opens doors a little more

For a long time, Judicial Council (JudCo) and the College Hearing Board have been two of the most clandestine and confidential groups on campus. The two disciplinary bodies, comprised of students, faculty and staff, were formed by a largely subjective selection. A Skull and Bones, if you will, where students are inducted to the board in secret. However, JudCo isn’t just a drinking group. It often decided students’ futures at this school.

The new changes brought to the two groups are much needed upgrades to what was an undemocratic institution. JudCo members, rather than being hand-picked by administrators, will be elected by the student body. This will allow a new degree of accountability, and help check the powers of those who are paid to run the school on a daily basis. And, thankfully, these changes were largely encouraged and embraced by Dean of Students Travis Greene and Director of Student Affairs Houston Dougharty. This shows a certain trust with the student body that is always a good sign.

The dissemination of reports and statistics regarding JudCo and College Hearing Board will also help free the groups from what could lead to an abuse of judicial power. Keeping a living record of how disciplinary issues are dealt with and resolved, will help ensure that institutional memory keeps the boards anchored in safe waters.

JudCo and College Hearing Board will always maintain a certain level of secrecy—and rightfully so. When dealing with students and disciplinary issues, identities must be withheld and situations guarded to a degree. Otherwise, the forces of our small campus would often invert the maxim “Innocent until proven guilty” and the identities of victims would not be safe. But the new changes, which will hold many of those accountable who judge as well as create a concrete history upon which disciplinary decisions can be made, are a step in that right direction towards fairness.

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