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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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International student joins J-Court for first time in recent history

Shelby Knowles
Dhananjay Khanna

For the first time in recent history, an international student has joined J-Court as an associate justice. However, the student, Dhananjay Khanna, says serving as associate justice will be nothing new.

Khanna is an engineering freshman from India who was confirmed on April 15 by Student Senate as one of the nine justices on J-Court. Joseph Hood, student senator, said J-Court serves as a route for students within Student Government Association or that have problems with SGA to have their voices heard.
Khanna said he did not initially consider the fact that he was representing the international student community when he applied for the position.

“When I got the position I didn’t really think much about it,” Khanna said. “In the sense of it was something I wanted to do, I applied for it and I ended up getting it. Which felt good, because it was something I really wanted to do.”  

Khanna said he believes that being an international student will not affect his actions in court.  

“J-Court essentially requires that the minute I sit down on the bench and I’m listening to a case that I get rid of all preexisting notions that I have and any certain way of thinking about certain issues that I have, and make decisions solely on the basis of that,” Khanna said.  

Hannah Weger, communication senior and speaker of the Student Senate, said the J-Court position is a “lifetime position,” meaning Khanna can hold the position as long as he is attending A&M.

Weger said although Khanna was chosen based on his work over the past year serving on Traditions Council and as a Fish Aide, he will be able to provide new perspectives to J-Court because of his international status.

“If, for whatever reason, international students came with a problem for SGA, that would be really cool for Jay,” Weger said. “He would be able during the deliberations be able to answer questions the justices might have.”

Khanna said if international students want more representation within SGA, it’s up to them to seek it.

“If you want representation within SGA you need to go and ask for it, Khanna said. “You need to go and apply for it. If you want executive positions you need to apply for executive positions, and that’s what’s going to change that.”

Hood said he hopes to see more international students getting involved in SGA.

“I really do believe that we are a very strong avenue for expressing student opinion to the administration,” Hood said. “And we welcome any student input at any time about anything we are doing.”

Weger said SGA is working to get all students and groups feel involved.

“We want to cater an environment to where international students and graduates get involved,” Weger said. “This past year we worked with the Health Science Center and the law school to make them feel they are more incorporated. So we want international students to feel the same way.”
Khanna said any position within SGA, all the way up to Student Body President, could be held by an international student, if that student is qualified. “If nothing else one thing that I’ve learned for everything that I’ve seen so far is if you want something, go for it,” Khanna said. “If you want increased representation then you have to decide there is something you need to do about it and then you need to put in the work.”

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