UA Judicial Review Board to finalize bylaws after Spring 2020 election ruling

Previous rulings will not be affected by completion of bylaws

The Undergraduate Association (UA) Judicial Review Board (JudBoard) will finalize its bylaws “to adhere to the UA Constitution,” JudBoard member Roy Kwon ’21 wrote in an email to The Tech. JudBoard oversees the UA Election Commission and is responsible for interpreting the constitution and other UA documents in the event of dispute between UA bodies.

A complaint filed May 15 on behalf of the UA Council by UA President Danielle Geathers ’22, forwarded to The Tech, prompted the decision. The complaint called JudBoard to cease all activity and finalize its previously incomplete bylaws by May 29. In a ruling based on this complaint emailed to The Tech, JudBoard found “that neither the cessation of activity nor imposition of deadlines have a constitutional basis.” 

Geathers wrote in her complaint that it was motivated by inquiries following an appeal of a JudBoard ruling surrounding the Spring 2020 election cycle

Geathers wrote in an email to The Tech that, in preparation for this appeal, she reviewed the UA Constitution and found mention of JudBoard bylaws. She then contacted members of JudBoard, “who all reported” that the bylaws “did not exist.”

The bylaws were drafted in 2015 in a document called “Operating Procedures.” JudBoard’s ruling states that this draft does not follow the UA Constitution because it “lacks both the correct name and finalization.”

Kwon wrote that “the UA Constitution does not give the UA Council the power to check the Bylaws,” and that JudBoard is currently discussing the process of rewriting the bylaws with the council. Additionally, JudBoard ruled that from interpretation of the constitution and because it is most familiar with its own operations, JudBoard will be responsible for writing its own bylaws. 

Kwon added that the bylaws are “not integral to the responsibilities and duties” of JudBoard, written in article II section C of the UA Constitution. 

The bylaws draft mentions term limits for JudBoard members, tracking of cases and complaints, “metrics for case acceptance,” decision-making on cases “if consensus cannot be reached,” and checks on the power of JudBoard. The constitution additionally states that “​the​ ​board​ ​shall​ ​convene​ ​according​ ​to​ ​the​ ​procedures​ ​described​ ​in​ ​the Bylaws​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Judicial​ ​Review​ ​board​.”

JudBoard’s decision to finalize its bylaws will not affect its rulings in cases since 2015, including the most recent Spring 2020 elections case.

The Spring 2020 class council election for the Class of 2023 attracted controversy for its use of joint tickets for president and vice president, as well as concerns about conflict of interest with the Election Commission. 

JudBoard ruled that the Election Commission “conducted the election process in a fair manner.” In particular, JudBoard found “no instances of conflict of interest” because the votes were “counted by an entirely automated process” on MIT Engage. 

Furthermore, JudBoard ruled that while joint tickets are new to UA elections, the election code does not require separate tickets and the election’s write-in option made it possible for voters to select a mixed pair of candidates.