October 13, 1998

Student Court searches for new members

Judge shortage may slow ticket appeal process

by Josh Renaud
special to The Current

The Student Court has lost members, said Chief Justice Steve Bartok, and it could slow the flow of traffic ticket appeals to a crawl.

According to the UM - St. Louis Student Association Constitution, the Student Court should be composed of five active members and two alternates. The Court had five active members and one alternate at the Student Government Association meeting on September 10. Since then, the Court has dropped to three active members and one alternate.

The Court is currently composed of active members Steve Bartok, Trish Bevins, and Steve Hausladen, as well as alternate member Chris Parks.

"If we can get three people to sit down together, we're lucky," Bartok said. "We have had a big problem with people who just want something to put on their resume, or people who bite off more than they can chew."

Bartok said some members neglected to let him know what was going on.

"They don't bother to say they have a problem. I am tired of having to chase people down."

Rick Blanton, manager of student activities, said he imagined Bartok would be frustrated.

"The court requires such effort and commitment on the part of the people who volunteer to do it [and] there are so many traffic ticket appeals that court members are charged with processing. It's a thankless job."

The Student Court has many responsibilities such as hearing grievances between student organizations, hearing grievances against student organizations from individuals, interpreting the Constitution, and dealing with student organizations that have had their funding frozen.

According to Bartok, though, it is processing traffic ticket and parking permit appeals that consumes the most time. Without an adequate amount of members, the process takes much longer.

"Last fall, I was getting a lot of comments from Student Affairs that ticket-processing was taking too long," Bartok said. "For the last several semesters, they have been on my case. They almost shut down the Student Court and hired someone to process tickets as a paid employee."

"I know [Bartok] has been receiving pressure from individuals who have received tickets and appealed them," said Student Services Coordinator Don McCarty. "Because of the lack of Court members, it's a slower process. I think he is doing a good job with the resources he has."

Bartok said that he has been trying to increase those resources. He has made announcements at SGA meetings, made announcements in classes, and asked the Office of Equal Opportunity if they knew anyone who might be interested.

In spite of its lack of members, the Court will continue its work of processing ticket and permit appeals. The next session will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at 272 University Center. The meeting is open to everyone.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.


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