The Oregon Department of Justice is reviewing a Tuesday night Judicial Board decision that allowed a Student Fee Committee member’s continued participation in the SFC. The ASPSU Judicial Board decided that SFC member Angela Manali-Leonardo should be allowed to participate as a member of the SFC, even though she had failed to meet certain grade requirements for participation during fall term.
The Oregon Department of Justice is reviewing a Tuesday night Judicial Board decision that allowed a Student Fee Committee member’s continued participation in the SFC.
The ASPSU Judicial Board decided that SFC member Angela Manali-Leonardo should be allowed to participate as a member of the SFC, even though she had failed to meet certain grade requirements for participation during fall term. Dean of Students Wendy Endress advised that the SFC postpone student group deliberation meetings Wednesday because she believed the Judicial Board made a decision outside of their purview.
The SFC postponed all meetings until 7 p.m. Thursday upon Endress’ recommendation.
The Student Fee Committee is charged with allocating almost $10 million in student fees to Portland State’s nearly 100 student groups, including athletics and the Vanguard. The Judicial Board is the governing body of the Associated Students of Portland State University constitution and interprets and clarifies the ASPSU constitution in terms of legality.
The Department of Justice will review the Judicial Board’s decision, and student government officials said they hope to hear from the DOJ by tomorrow. The DOJ interpreted a Judicial Board ruling as unconstitutional last spring, causing President Daniel Bernstine to send back an SFC student group budget proposal.
Justice Molly Woon said the board decided that Manali-Leonardo could participate in the SFC because she was working to turn an incomplete she had received fall term into a pass or letter grade. Manali-Leonardo’s standing as an SFC member was in question after she was unable to complete at least six credits at Portland State fall term, a requirement for participation in Portland State student government.
Endress said her objection was to the Judicial Board’s interpretation of fall term-an interpretation that Endress said she believes is outside of their jurisdiction. Endress said she believes that the Judicial Board took a liberty with defining the extent of fall term, therefore making a decision outside of their jurisdiction.
“I don’t think the [ASPSU] constitution gives them that flexibility,” she said.
Woon said that because Manali-Leonardo’s incomplete would be turned into a fall term grade, the Judicial Board chose to allow her to keep the position. Woon said that the ASPSU constitution does not define the way or timeline that student government members must complete credits, or make them up, in a situation like this, therefore allowing them to make the interpretation.
“It’s up to us to define the terms of the constitution, which is exactly what we did,” she said.
The SFC is bound to the rulings of the Judicial Board, but is also bound to the constitution. Because Endress suspected that the decision would violate their jurisdiction, student body President Courtney Morse asked the DOJ to look into the decision.
Morse said that this is a case of the administration disregarding the decisions made by ASPSU. She said that the administration immediately disagreed with the decision, and that no one asked why the Judicial Board made its ruling.
ASPSU adviser Natalee Webb recommended that the Judicial Board not make the ruling to permit Manali-Leonardo to continue to work with the SFC. Webb was not on campus for comment Wednesday.
Committee Chair Madeline Enos said she thinks postponing Wednesday’s meeting will have little effect on finishing student group budget deliberations, and she expects to finish on time.