SBA Strives to Represent Student Interests in Multiple Campus Conversations

By the UCI Law Student Bar Association Board of Directors

We all know the famous JFK quote: “think not what your country can do for you . . .” Great quote, but the SBA urges that you should be thinking about what your SBA can do for you – we are here to represent you, the students, after all. We hope that as ambassadors to the student body, we are available for and open to student concerns, needs, and positions. We look forward to both starting and contributing to campus dialogue, and endeavor to represent your interests on issues that are important to you. Here are two issues that have been on our radar so far this year.

Ensuring Student Input and Involvement in Academic Affairs Committee Proposals
2L Sean Garcia-Leys, our Academic Affairs Committee representative, is the eyes, ears, and mouth of the student body at the committees’ regular meetings. Currently, the committee is in the process of creating and approving a procedure for addressing violations of the academic honor code. Sean has kept us updated on the committee’s progress and has been an integral voice in the decision making process.

The Committee has agreed on a basic outline of a disciplinary procedure that is non-confrontational and rooted in mediation. The process is not finalized or in place yet. At this juncture, the process begins with any student accused of an academic honor code violation being guaranteed an informal, confidential mediation session with Dean Schroeder. Dean Schroeder will not be involved in any later proceedings and anything said during this meeting cannot later be used against the student. In the event that the issue is not resolved after the informal mediation, the student’s case will be evaluated during a hearing before a mixed panel of students and professors. The accused student can ask to have the students removed from the panel if he or she wishes to maintain anonymity throughout the proceeding. The accused student also has the right to ask for the removal of any of the professors on the panel. So far, evidentiary rules have not been agreed upon, other than the bar on using information or statements from the initial confidential mediation.

This procedure, and our student representative’s role in shaping it, is an important step towards transparency in student affairs. We look forward to working with Academic Affairs Committee to implement other progressive policies in the future. Meanwhile, Sean is open to hearing about student questions, ideas, and concerns in the area of academic affairs.

Increasing Allocations for Travel Funding to Stimulate Student Participation in Nationwide Legal Conferences
As UCI Law grows, it is crucial that we establish a national presence. To that end, SBA recently voted to increase the maximum amounts of travel funding that students are eligible to receive. Now, SBA will fund up to $500 per student for travel and lodging for students seeking to attend legal conferences. Students are also eligible to receive up to $250 as reimbursement for conference fees. Students seeking funding or reimbursement should submit completed requests through LEAF, with a detailed budget breakdown. Requests must be sent in at least two weeks before the event.

We hope that this increase in available funds will encourage more students to attend legal conferences and will remove barriers to attending out-of-state conferences. This funding can also be used to travel to job fairs, such as the Northern California Public Interest Job Fair, the EJW Conference and Career Fair (in Maryland this year), and more.

The SBA seeks to support students interested in a summer or a career outside of OC or the state. We are excited about the opportunities that this funding increase will create, and encourage students to take advantage of it.