Student Court settles disputes, answers problems

The Baylor Student Court is made up of seven justices and two clerks, and they meet at 9 p.m. every Tuesday in Brooks 170. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Thomas Mott | Reporter

When someone is wronged, there is supposed to be a way to make it right. However, many Baylor students do not know where to go when they feel wronged by an organization or a fellow student. The Baylor Student Court is a group of students whose job is to help the Baylor community in this way.

The Student Court meets around a small table in Brooks Residential College every Tuesday night where they are tasked with settling student court cases.

Student Court is the judicial branch of Student Government and is made up of seven justices and two court clerks according to the student court website

“[Student Court is] a diverse group that represents the student body,” said Castle Pines, Colo., junior Andrew Wixson, Student Court justice.

The court’s main task is to interpret the official documents of Student Government and settle disputes between organizations and Baylor students said New Braunfels senior and Chief Justice of the court Charlotte Weston.

While parking tickets tend to make up the majority of the court’s cases, the court also hears cases in which students feel like they have been treated unfairly by another Baylor organization, Weston said. However, many students either do not know the court exists or they simply do not know how to bring a case to the court.

“There is always an answer to their problems. The Student Court has a lot more power than people would expect,” Wixson said.

The court has the power to “overturn an unfair decision that was made by any student organization. Some disputes and complaints do not warrant a court hearing, but even if the court cannot do what you are asking, they may be able to direct you to someone who can,” Deputy Chief Justice and Flowery Branch, Ga., senior Connor Sheets wrote in an email to the Lariat.

Recently, the court has simplified and reorganized its rules, creating templates and making documents more user-friendly for students to access, Weston said.

“My goal was to really bring the court more to the students and the general student body,” Weston said.

The justices are committed to helping all Baylor students.

“I would want students to know how much we care about them and labor over every single decision to make sure it is in their best interest,” Houston junior and Student Court Justice Hannah Vecseri said.

Even one of the court’s new clerks, a freshman member of the court who is not old enough to be a justice due to her classification but still helps with cases, said she was blown away by the commitment of the seven justices.

“I joined recently this fall as a clerk, and I’ve been blown away by the commitment that the members of the court have to serving the students of Baylor,” said Waco freshman Margaret Thonnard, Student Court clerk.

Even though the court is made up of fellow students, its job is to interpret the law to resolve cases. This can be especially hard for justices who said there are many times where they feel sympathetic towards a student’s case, but in the end have to side with the law.

“Sometimes we have to make decisions that are difficult. and we have to put aside our sympathy and really look at the code and law and what it states and not let our emotions get involved too much,” Marble Falls sophomore justice Tyler Rutherford said.

To bring a case in front of the court, a student can visit the student government website and contact the court through the provided phone or email. Even if a student does not feel like they possess the legal knowledge to bring a case to the court, the court can help lead students to someone who can.

“We have a couple of members of the mock trial team who are also willing to help students who might not feel legally equipped to bring a case,” Weston said.

The Student Court meets at 9 p.m. every Tuesday in 170 Brooks.