SGA trial looks more like playtime

As if waiting for hours on a postponed verdict that was supposed to be announced at 11 p.m. wasn’t bad enough, some of us have been forced to tolerate the high immaturity of other college students in the Student Government Association courtroom.

Why isn’t there any form of order in the courtroom even when court isn’t in session? Shouldn’t there be some form of respect in a courtroom at all times instead of blatant tomfoolery? I guess not.

My experiences in the Student Government Association Senate chambers are often boring ones filled with taking notes on Senate bills, observing organizations making pleas for money and occasionally watching a trial. What I have noticed during all of these times is that the parliamentarian usually calms things down if too much talking occurs from the gallery.

Although it is funny at times for the gallery to make comments as if a talk show is being conducted, once the words “court decorum!” are blurted out from the parliamentarian, silence is granted. During trials, the bailiff takes over, who most could easily call “security guard Steve.”

Whispers from the gallery are heard, but no one really makes a loud disturbance in fear that they might not hear something said in the court. The gallery, the counsels and justices maintain a professional demeanor for what they are passionate about.

But once closing remarks are made and the justices retire to their chambers to agree on a verdict, no better phrase can describe what happens next except: “All hell breaks loose.”

The professionalism I had once found from the gallery and the counsels in the courtroom was lost during the Franklin and Ardis trial. In its place is child-like behavior such as loud cursing, running, dancing on the justices’ desk and utter disrespect for school property.

While most of us understand that college students love to have fun and be crazy, I’m also sure most of us have heard the phrase, “there is a time and place for everything.” In this case, “act your age, not your shoe size.”

I’m sure no one was wearing a size 18 or 21. The fact of the matter is we were in a courtroom!

Noticing the awful behavior within the Senate chambers, I proceeded to question the policy on waiting for a verdict. The only response I received about the bad behavior was “What do you expect us to do about it?”

I’m sure a counsel dropping the chief justice’s gavel on the ground and then pounding it in several places like a hammer counts for something. Or perhaps using a tablecloth from the defense’s table as a toga counts for something, but nothing was done.

Out of all the Senate meetings and trial cases I have attended that was by far the worst. I have heard many times before how serious SGA is, but recently, I have yet to see it.

Matthew Richardson is a junior newspaper student from Jacksonville. He can be reached at