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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Student Judiciary ruling orders Morrison to write apology letter

The Associated Students of Madison’s Student Judiciary voided legislation Wednesday which would have created a bylaw change for the creation of a financial transparency and ethics subcommittee.

The ruling comes after former ASM Chair Carmen Goséy and current Chair Katrina Morrison received a complaint about their conduct at the April 12 student council meeting. Rep. Ariela Rivkin, Rep. Diego Villegas, College Republicans Chair Jake Lubenow, College Democrats press secretary Eliana Locke and Deeba Abrishamchi filed the complaint.

SJ’s ruling states that the 24th session of ASM will be notified that “exclusion of students from meetings due to their religious beliefs, particularly when said students have expressed interest in a committee’s activities, constitutes a violation of the ASM Constitution.”

That ruling also suggests that Goséy attend a religious tolerance training. Morrison is mandated to issue a letter to the 23rd session of ASM as well as read the apology letter before the 24th session at the first Student Council meeting in the fall.

Morrison said SJ’s ruling felt appropriate.

“I think that given the information that they had and given the circumstances, that they made the best decision that they possibly could,” Morrison said. “There’s been a couple people who think it’s a bad ruling and think that nobody should have to apologize. I would have to disagree. I really do truly think that was an appropriate ruling.”

Prior to the April 12 meeting, Rep. Ariela Rivkin asked Student Council to not address divestment legislation after Jewish students expressed their concern about Israel being mentioned in the resolution. Because the meeting was held on Passover, Jewish students would not be in attendance to discuss the important legislation.

During the meeting, ASM voted to change the bylaws to add a subcommittee on financial transparency and ethics. This proposal did not have any mention of Israel.

Although that proposal would ordinarily not be voted on during that meeting, Morrison motioned to suspend the rules, allowing for a first vote at that meeting. Without the motion, Student Council would have had to schedule a special meeting for the necessary two votes on the legislation.

Some found the vote on the proposal to be discriminatory against the Jewish students on council who were observing a religious holiday. However, as Chief Justice Will Olson mentioned in the judgement, holding the meeting on Passover does not technically breach the ASM Constitution.

Though Morrison said she does not regret “the things I said or the things I stood up for,” she said she “could’ve done a better job aiding better conversation.”

“I really think a constructive dialogue could’ve happened,” Morrison said. “It didn’t happen. If I could go back and do anything again, it would be to ensure there was open conversation around this issue.”

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Morrison said that she plans to comply with the ruling and issue the letter. Morrison added she will not try to appeal Student Judiciary's decision.

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