Student Court to hear case on finance bylaws, student organization sanctions Sunday

Media Credit: File Photo by Auden Yurman | Assistant Photo Editor

The Office of the Legislator General filed a lawsuit against the SA finance committee chair in February for legislation that gave the finance committee the power to sanction student organizations.

The Student Court will convene Sunday to hear a case on the Student Association’s updated finance laws that allowed the finance committee to sanction student organizations.

In a general order issued Monday, Chief Justice Yun-Da Tsai said the hearing will take place Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Law Learning Center to rule on the Office of the Legislator General’s February complaint alleging that the bylaws grant the finance committee “unilateral authority” to enact sanctions. Tsai said in the order that the defendant – SA Sen. Yan Xu, ESIA-U, and the head of the SA finance committee – and the Office of the Legislator General need to submit briefs to him by Friday.

The legislators general filed the complaint against legislation called the Financial Reorganization Act, which the SA Senate passed in February, updating the bylaws and allowing the finance committee to sanction student organizations.

The court delayed its initial consideration of the complaint in late February after Xu filed a motion to stay the lawsuit. A day later, the senate passed a new bill to address the issues laid out in the complaint.

The legislator general’s office submitted an amended complaint last month alleging that the bill does not outline how the finance committee would administer sanctions to student organizations, and the sanctioning sections of the legislation are still unconstitutional. Xu submitted an answer to the amended complaint urging the court to dismiss the case, arguing the lawsuit is now irrelevant.

The latest order outlined four questions for the defendants and plaintiffs to address in their briefs like which SA branch has sanctioning power, what authority is needed to issue sanctions, how the court should help handle sanction appeals and what parts of the sanction legislation will remain valid if the court invalidates a section of it.

In his answer, Xu contested that the finance committee will only theoretically be able to sanction student organizations until the power expires in July because of the updated legislation the senate passed, rendering the case irrelevant. He said the committee wouldn’t sanction any student organizations before July because SA bylaws do not outline or provide for the sanctioning process despite the powers his legislation grants.

Tsai, the chief justice of the court, said individuals and student organizations can submit amicus briefs on the questions outlined in the order to him by Friday.

The hearing will live stream on the SA’s Facebook page.

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