J Board FOIA .pdf
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Cole, joined by Smith, Auvil, Matzureff, Haugh, Neal, Walburn
We are called today to determine whether the state Freedom of Information Act is
binding on the West Virginia University Student Government Association (SGA). We find that
we have no jurisdiction to interpret state statutes. The only clause that could potentially give us
that power would be Article II Section 2, which states that the SGA Constitution is “subordinate
to . . . state . . . laws. SGA CONST. ART. II, SEC. 2. However, this clause only states that the
constitution is subordinate to these laws and not that we have the power to interpret these laws.
Subordinate to simply means that those enumerated legal sources supersede the constitution if
there is a conflict, not that we can create precedent or interpret their meanings.
Petitioners bring up Article VI Section 3, Subsection A, Part 6, which states “[t]he
Judicial Board Shall . . . [p]erform all other judicial functions as shall become necessary and
proper for the just operation of the Student Government Association.” SGA Const. Art. VI, § 23A(1). This however does not give us license to interpret these statutes. The place for this case is
in the circuit courts, not the SGA Judicial Board. We are not inclined to go rogue and grant
ourselves the power of an elected judge or constitutionally empaneled jury.
Although the Judicial Board encourages openness and honesty within this student
government, we cannot interpret or enforce state law.
WHEREFORE, this complaint is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
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