Board of Magistrates Revamped for the School Year

By Pat Walker, Staff Writer

When academic dishonesty occurs at Hackley, a select group of Hackley students have the responsibility to weigh in on the consequences. When given the opportunity to hear cases by Hackley’s administration, members of the Board give recommendations for punishments for students who commit academic dishonesty. The Board’s overall purpose is to develop punitive, but fair, disciplinary responses, and offer crucial input on community matters through Community Council meetings each Tuesday night. The members of the Board this year are seniors Allie Molner, Julia Stevenson, and Karina Franke and along with alternates seniors Will Pundyk and Jason Traum.

This year, the Board’s participation in Council has been very advantageous under science teacher Bill McLay and Director of Student Life Chris Arnold’s supervision in comparison to prior years. Mr. McLay and Mr. Arnold guide and assist in Council’s meetings and activities.

“I was the Clerk to the Board of Magistrates as a junior and I’m a member this year, and overall everyone is encouraged to participate more this year and I think that council meetings have been more productive and engaging [because of that]”, said Board member Julia Stevenson.

Although the Board of Magistrates has an important role in the Upper School, most students do not know much about it, likely because the Board has not been called to discuss disciplinary matters in several years. However, Hackley’s faculty expects the Board to play a greater, more active role in disciplinary actions and the Hackley community in general as this school year progresses.

“I think it’s a really underused concept throughout the years that I’ve been here. I can’t remember the last time the Board of Magistrates was actually given a case and I think it would be interesting to see if that started to change and if they started to have more of an influence on disciplinary decisions,” said Community Council Treasurer senior Eli Pinkus.

“I like the idea of the Board of Magistrates, but I don’t think they have enough power. If they did more stuff [in] the community, I think it would definitely have a great impact on all of us,” added junior Jack Wendling.

Chris Arnold is responsible for the resurgence of the Board’s role in Council. “One of the main responsibilities that the people on the board of magistrates have is to have a role in addressing community attitudes towards academic dishonesty and to think about what role they can play as student leaders in trying to engage the community in a thoughtful dialogue about attitudes towards academic dishonesty, understandings of academic dishonesty, and ways to prevent it,” said Mr. Arnold.

All Board of Magistrates members have the opportunity to contribute during council meetings and all possess the power to vote in the decisions that Community Council makes.

“While we don’t have as many specific council responsibilities, like making announcements during Lindsay room or posting in grade-wide Facebook group[s], as grade reps and presidents do, we can still voice our opinions or suggest an idea like all of the other members,” said Julia.

“I think it’s really important for students to have an opinion on matters relating to academic dishonesty and I’m really glad Mr. Arnold has started an initiative to make the board more active, because it has not convened in many years,” said Allie.

Overall, Board members’ increased participation in Community Council has helped Council be more efficient and effective when planning school wide events like bonfires and game-time concession stands. The Board also stands ready to evaluate any disciplinary cases in the event that they arise, although academic dishonesty is, thankfully, very rare at Hackley.