2 Minutes With … is a series of short features to introduce us to the passions and interests of Lawrence students on and off campus. Find more 2 Minutes With … features here.
Story by Isabella Mariani ’21
Jojo Maier ’21 is probably more present in your life than you think. As this year’s chair of the Lawrence University Judicial Board, the biochemistry major helps make tough decisions in tough times to keep everyone on campus safe.
The Judicial Board is a student-run LUCC committee that oversees alleged violations of the Social Code at Lawrence. While perhaps not as known as the Honor Code, the Social Code encompasses the rest of the Student Handbook, primarily protecting students’ personal safety and property rights. Violations of the Social Code vary from noise complaints to theft to threatening situations.
What doesn’t budge is the Judicial Board’s belief in member diversity and education over punishment. Maier was nominated to serve on the Judicial Board as a first-year student and elected chair this year as a senior. As a supporter of restorative justice, he regards the Board’s tenets highly.
“Part of why I enjoy the Board is because I’m able to bring justice to campus in a way that’s not completely punitive,” he explains. “It’s a nice feeling when you realize that you’re able to make some change on campus and make sure people are upholding the rules.”
Staying safe in a pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has recast what it means to be safe on campus. The Judicial Board now refers to the Pledge in hearings regarding violations of COVID safety guidelines.
“This year, being able to help uphold the COVID policies really feels important,” Maier says.
With new policies come more potential violations. Cases totaled only two or three in previous years. By the middle of Winter Term this year, the Judicial Board already saw four cases. And that means Maier is busier; the chair must organize and attend each hearing, acting as a moderator and guiding the procedures.
Gaining problem-solving skills
Despite these changes, Maier emphasizes that maintaining safety on campus is just as important as any other year. Though currently off campus in his home of Eugene, Oregon, he still enjoys the experience Judicial Board has to offer.
“[Board members] appreciate the learning experience,” he says. “There’s a lot of critical thinking involved that prepares you for all sorts of jobs.”
Maier has gained problem-solving and leadership skills, particularly valuable to the hopeful future pharmacist. He encourages fellow and future students to exercise their right to voice their concerns on campus.
“I think Judicial Board is underutilized,” he says. “Often there’s the perception that people are making more complaints than are happening. But there are very few violations reported. That doesn’t mean there are very few violations happening.”
Know someone who can make difficult decisions? The nomination process for 2021-22 Judicial Board members will begin in Spring Term.
Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.