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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Senate attempts to close Aronin UJ hearing

Published: December 28, 2009
Section: Breaking News

Despite its Dec. 6 impeachment of Student Union Secretary Diana Aronin ’11, the Student Union Senate filed a motion Thursday to “close to the public” the Union Judiciary impeachment trial in order to avoid “embarrassing or unfairly damaging the reputation of individuals involved.”

If granted, the motion would close the hearings to the student body but would allow representatives of campus media to attend.

The Senate impeached Aronin earlier this month after she allegedly failed to have the student body vote on an amendment to the Union Constitution on whether to create a midyear senator. The impeachment articles argued that Aronin “willfully corrupted and violated the duties set forth to her in the Constitution.”

According to Article XII of the Student Union Constitution, while “all hearings of the Union Judiciary shall be open to the public,” certain exceptions do apply, including if “the presence of the public [at the trial] is deemed to have a negative impact on the hearing.”

The motion argues that an open hearing “would limit counsels’ ability to argue the facts and the law openly and fairly, for fear of embarrassing or unfairly damaging the reputation of individuals involved.” Lawyers for both the claimant and respondent, the Senate’s brief argues, could be hindered if forced to face the scrutiny of the student body.

The attempt at closing the trial argues that because Aronin is a junior and will be at Brandeis for an additional year after the trial, letting the trial remain open would allow“a public spectacle which would be damaging to both the Union as a whole and Secretary Aronin as an individual.”

Lawyers for both sides declined to comment on the motion.

The Union Judiciary will be accepting amicus briefs through Jan. 10 as to whether the hearing should be closed. The briefs can be submitted by any Brandeis undergraduate.