Students to dole out GW judicial advice

A newly created student group that aims to familiarize students with University rules met for the first time at a general information session Thursday night.

The Student Advocacy Service will provide the students of the George Washington University with sound judicial advice for all student judicial proceedings, according to the group’s mission statement.

Freshman Matt Buesing, assistant director of SAS, said he hopes to narrow the gap that exists between the University’s interpretation of laws and a student’s knowledge of them.

Students are unaware of their rights, Buesing said. We inform them of the newest additions to laws.

Student advocates will explain to students their rights before a conference with Student Judicial Services and also attend the conference and subsequent hearings to provide advice, according to a group flier handed out during the information session.

Freshman Josh Singer, director of the Student Advocacy Service, said students may seek help from a student advocate from the SAS when charged with a violation of GW policy. An advocate will not approach any student because judicial proceedings are strictly confidential, he said.

It’s nobody else’s business, said Singer, who said that all students must sign confidentiality agreements upon entering the group and that all judicial matters may only be discussed with the deans involved in the proceedings.

The group works with both the Student Association and Student Judicial Services and will attempt to open channels of communication with the Interfraternity Council and other student organizations, Singer said.

We want to come together whether it’s through fraternities or other groups, Singer said.

Singer said the point of SAS is not for students to don suits and carry briefcases.

They are not lawyers, Singer said.

Group members are able to sit in with charged students at judicial conferences to consult students, but they are only able to address the student, Singer said.

Buesing said SAS does not aim to change GW laws but to interpret them in ways that students can understand.

The program works for students, while at the same time, retaining the school’s rules, Buesing said.

Students must fill out a general application and attend an interview following winter break to be accepted into SAS as an advisor, Singer said. All students are encouraged to participate, Buesing said.

Whether you’re a criminal justice major or doing science, we’re just here to help people, Buesing said.

Freshman Jenilee Keefe attended Thursday’s meeting to serve students in need of judicial advice. After advising first-time offenders in her high school’s youth court, Keefe said she hopes to continue this type of voluntary work in college.

I helped people.while also learning about the law, Keefe said. I just remember how rewarding it is to help your fellow peers.

Students accepted into the program will attend a training session with Senior Assistant Dean Michael Walker of the Community Living and Learning Center. They will conduct mock judicial conferences and learn the University’s rules, Singer said.

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