On September 9, the student body elected Thomas Joven ’24 to be the first Chief Justice of the Student Supreme Court of Wabash College. On September 12, the Student Senate swore in Joven and four other associate justices.“First and foremost, it is quite the honor,” said Joven. “Receiving the title of the first Chief Justice of the Student Supreme Court of Wabash College, it’s incredible. Being able to be just a small part of the tradition and the history of Wabash is really exciting, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Joven won the election for Chief Justice with 53% of the vote, narrowly beating out runner-up Liam Grennon ’24. “There is no one I would’ve rather lost to than Joven,” Grennon said. “He is levelheaded and thoughtful, and I have no doubt he will do an excellent job as Chief Justice.”The other four associate justices sworn in were Andrew Hollingsworth ’23, Garson Matney ’24, Seth Kirkpatrick ’24, and Jackson Grabill ’24.The Court was formed to replace the Constitution Bylaws and Policy Review Committee. Unlike the CBPR Committee, the new Student Supreme Court will not operate under the authority of the Senate. Instead, it will act on its own authority, supposedly to create more accountability within the student government.
The purpose of the Court is to read and interpret the Constitution of the Wabash College Student Body and to ensure the senate operates within its bounds. “This court opens up a huge opportunity for more accountability for the Senate and for the executive branch,” Chairman of the Senate William Trapp ’24 said. “We need people whose job is to have specific knowledge of the systems that we put in place and to help us navigate those complex systems.”
Often at Student Senate meetings, the President or Secretary of the Senate will need clarification on some issue and the Court will be tasked with answering those questions. However, the majority of the Court’s work will be to clear up any confusion over how the constitution is to be interpreted and what can and cannot be done by the Senate.
“The key piece is finding ways for them to be positively proactive in helping guide and advise what’s going on with students,” said Coordinator of Student Success Vic Lindsay. “Hopefully there will be very few opportunities for them to react to things that have gone horribly awry. I don’t expect we’re going to be having a lot of impeachment hearings. It’s really about what they do to positively move things forward.”
This semester, Joven hopes the court will be able to draft new Audit and Finance Committee bylaws to simplify the disorganized language of the current bylaws. These bylaws govern how the Senate can apportion the more-than $350,000 it controls. “So we have our full court of five,” Thomas said. “And we’re really looking forward to the semester this year and making a positive change for Wabash.”