4.13.2009

TLS SBA Candidate Response - Julia F

1. How will you raise or otherwise improve the profile of TLS as SBA President?

SBA needs to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. We need to get out into the community as an organization and not only do more community service but do better community service. This year the 1L class and SBA helped with the Mayor's Halloween party and SBA helped with the Mayor's Easter Egg hunt. These are two community service events that give parents in New Orleans that may not be able to afford an Easter egg hunt and a Halloween party a place to bring their kids. I have spoken to the gentlemen in charge of coordinating these events about SBA not only proving volunteers but helping with the planning. These two events get city wide publicity and it would be a great way for SBA to do some real good and improve our reputation. I wanna give these kids a haunted house and Easter egg painting. I want these events to be something that these kids will remember and since it is conjunction with the Mayor's office it is ensured that these events can become a tradition and something that Tulane can help with for many years down the road.

Also, it is important that we improve our profile to our alums. SBA needs to have some sort of newsletter or better yet get DICTA into print to be able to send to alums and incoming students so that they know about all the good things that SBA does, the social events as well as the service events. I have spoken to the editor-in-chief of DICTA and she is excited and willing to do all of the hard work to put DICTA in print and I want to help her. Also, a really great way opportunity that New Orleans offers is great local music acts, by supporting these bands and groups they will support us. The way to improve the TLS profile is to do things that are noteworthy because they are good and positive and because we are working hard to improve our community.

2. What is your take on the current state of the SBA's relationship with the administration? Is there a need for improvement? If not, what do you think is the one thing students don't realize about SBA/admin. interaction? If so, what concrete steps will you take to improve student representation to the administration?

As a member of SBA executive Board I have sat in countless meetings with members of the administration. SBA Exec. has weekly meetings with Dean Netherton and when they are issues we have meetings with Dean Griffin and in some instances Dean Ponoroff. I think that a large problem with the communication between the administration and SBA is what is discussed. Social events and issues are discussed of course but there also needs to be discussion from the administration to the SBA about things occuring in the school that concern the students. SBA needs to be able to ask the questions that the students want to know and that requires SBA finding out what those questions are. SBA needs to provide venues in which students can voice concerns so that we can have meaningful conversations with the administration. The problem right now is not that there is no communication, the problem is that we are not discussing the things that students are concerned about like Dean's Search, hurricane evacuations, incoming professors, etc. SBA needs to go to the administration with clear questions and clear proposals on issues that the students are concerned with. We need to formulate one clear voice in which the student body can speak to the administration. We do this by having meaningful discussions amongst ourselves and having people that want to listen to everyone.

3. Would you support an amendment to the SBA Constitution requiring a vote of the student body to ratify amendments to the SBA Constitution? If so, would you support a built in requirement that such plebiscites require participation by at least 30% of the student body to be valid?

SBA should always be accountable to the students. There is a certain point where there can be too much beurocracy and there are situations where SBA must act as an organization and sometimes things are time sensitive and a student wide vote would be difficult. This problem is remedied by having student representation that is accountable to the students and student representation that listens to their fellow students. I want to help foster that communication and that trust. To answer the question directly, I would support such an amendment. I do think that there would have to be a minimum percentage of the student body that would have to vote. The changes to the constitution were major and created new positions to be filled. A vote would have made people more aware that these positions were available and would have clarified what each position does. It is always better to have more input.

4. What specific lessons did you learn from the SBA's experiences in the past year? How will you incorporate those lessons into your position of leadership?

SBA Vice President was a rather difficult job at times but I learned a great deal while doing this job. We had events that went great and were huge successes and we had events that had major problems. I learned about how the locker system worked and the many problems with that system. I have learned about the budgeting system and the way that budgets are decided and the many problems with that system. I have also learned about the frustrations of trying to disseminate information to the students and feeling like there were few avenues to give out information. There are a lot of problems, from small organizational things to large things that affect he entire student body. I have felt the effects of these problems on all sides and I have come up with some solid ways to fix them.

(A) A leadership summit at the beginning of the year with all student organization presidents and all of SBA. This would not just be a budget meeting but it would be a goal setting day. We would provide food and there would be breakout sessions about new ideas for programming and communication. Also, this would help foster co-programming among organizations.

(B) Going to student organization meetings. Clearly there is no way to go to all of all of the student organization meetings, but I think that it would be important to attend one meeting a semester or a month to answer questions that the student orgs have and listen to their concerns.

(C) There has to be more than just one person in charge of lockers. The new constitution delegates this job to a committee but over the summer the lockers need to be completely cleaned out, the combinations changed, and the broken ones fixed. This may seem like a small detail but it is important that we update the things that allow students to study learn.

(D) We need to think of different types of events. We need more heads in the room and more ideas so that we can have events that target all students. We need to have events that foster interactions between students and faculty. I am not talking about getting rid of all of the events that we currently have but we need to be smarter about these events. We need more student input about what they want for events. We need events for students with families and older students and LLMs.

(E) We need to help students be prepared for the difficult economy that we are entering into. We need to have programming for students about alternative career options and areas of the law where careers are available. We need to discuss stress management and help students network with attorneys in different areas of the law and from different size firms.

I could go on and on but these are the things that first come to my mind when asked the above-asked question. I hope to get a chance to discuss the rest of my ideas as the election continues.

5. Briefly, lest we get ahead of ourselves, why should we care about SBA? What does it do for us? What's at stake?

SBA controls the entire budget for all of the student organizations and events in the law school. SBA also does a significant amount of programming for the entire law school community. This is why you should care. Also, there comes a point where we, as citizens, have to stand up and say that we care. We as members of the Tulane community should stand and voice our concerns as a community and our concerns with the community. Lawyers are the keepers of society, so why wait until graduation to stand up for things that we believe in.

6. What else would you like to tell us...in 50 words? And don't repeat anything from your candidate statement.

This is important to me. This is important to me because Tulane is the number one employer in the a city that I love. This is important to me because Tulane is the best school and the best law school in the a State that is home to an extraordinary culture. We owe more to the communities that we are apart of.

(Sorry that was 62 words not 50)

7. Did you take the shoe?

I was in charge of the event in which the shoe was taken. I planned where the police officers would patrol and I spent the first hour of that event calling TUPD and the NOPD to make sure that we had enough officers there. The shoe theft, while funny, shows that there is a climate problem at Tulane law school regarding respect for property. This situation included one or two students and is not indicative of the typical Tulane law student. There have been other similar situations and that is why we need to give our students more. I did not take the shoe, but I did not totally grasp the risks of planning an event at such a venue and I will take responsibility for that.