In a letter Monday, Associated Students of Madison Student Judiciary General Counsel Jacob Gardner announced he will be resigning his current position to run for Shared Governance Committee Chair.
Gardner’s resignation comes months after he was installed as SJ General Counsel in December of last year. Gardner said it was a “privilege” to serve as General Counsel, but believes his “skill set and institutional knowledge” are needed elsewhere.
In his letter, Gardner discussed recent scrutiny the SJ has faced from the student body. Gardner mentioned two points in particular which he said were “correctly placed” criticisms of the SJ: Open discussion of private and impartial cases and sharing of bigoted remarks.
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“While I disagree with many of the anti-SJ politics that seem to be growing, one component of their disdain is correctly placed; that is, issues of ethics,” Gardner said. “Open discussion of private and impartial cases and sharing of bigoted remarks are two examples of things that ought to not come from leaders and employees of the Associated Students of Madison.”
While Gardner did not elaborate on these points, he said it would be an “injustice” for him to leave his current position in the SJ without making such remarks. Gardner said he hopes his comments encourage the student body to pressure the SJ for transparency and fairness in its decision making process.
Gardner said SJ Chief Justice William Olson is largely responsible for resolving issues of ethics and providing damage control during the recent scrutiny of the SJ, but stressed this is not a long-term solution. He implored students to engage with their student government.
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“Chief Justice Olson will not be here forever,” Gardner said. “I implore more students to engage with SJ, the ASM nominations board, and their student council representatives to ensure that Justice Olson’s replacement will be of an equally ethical caliber.”
Gardner’s resignation will become effective March 12, the same day he will be launching his campaign for Shared Governance Committee Chair. Gardner believes he is the best candidate for the position, which is why he is resigning as General Counsel.
Gardner said some of the position’s potential candidates lack “interest and knowledge,” which Gardner said is a primary reason he is launching his campaign for Shared Governance Chair.
As for his current position, Gardner said interest in SJ positions are regularly high, and he does not doubt in SJ’s ability to find a replacement.