Members of TCNJ Socialists heaved a sigh of relief last week when the club was approved by a single vote at the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting.
The decision (18-17-1) was one of the most fiercely debated all year, and arguments over its approval continued long after the meeting.
Members of SGA also argued over the decision to put up a banner proclaiming that “SGA supports the Vagina Monologues.” A new religious group, Coptic Orthodox Fellowship, was also approved.
The main issues with the Socialists were allegations that members had ripped down other clubs’ posters, in addition to similarities between the proposed TCNJ Socialists and the already existing Progressive Student Alliance (PSA).
“They have systematically destroyed property of clubs they disagree with,” Tom Sales, senator of Culture and Society, said. “They’ve lied to us, they’ve broken more rules than any other club that I know of . and they haven’t even been approved yet.”
“We shouldn’t be discussing their moral fabric, but whether they can contribute something to our campus,” Annelise Catanzaro, executive president, said. Sales replied that “immoral lying bastards don’t contribute to our campus.”
Leo Inglima, vice president of equity and diversity, believed that the actions of specific members should not influence the creation of the club. “We’re deciding on whether they serve a specific purpose . not on how they run their club, we can talk to them about ripping down posters later,” Inglima said.
When questioned about the posters, TCNJ Socialists spokesman Matt Richman said that “I don’t know any evidence of that . I do know some of ours were ripped down and College Democrats posters (were) put in their place.”
Kevin Kelly, vice president of legal and governmental affairs, called the proposed Socialist club “the most blatant example of repetition of clubs” all year.
Many believed that Socialists could accomplish their aims through PSA, and did not need a separate club. “PSA says it is against capitalism; that is the basis of socialism,” Kelly said.
“Why should we give them government funds when their goal is to overthrow the U.S. government?” Steven Link, senator at-Large, asked. Other members quickly asserted that the club could not be judged based on its beliefs.
The argument continued after the meeting with Sales and Inglima exchanging hot words. Sales asserted that a club should not be passed if its members broke the rules, which prompted Inglima to compare the Socialists’ lack of control over its members to Catanzaro’s lack of control over Sales’ language. “You can’t control yourself in a professional setting,” Inglima said to Sales.
Further debate focused on the poster expressing SGA’s support of “The Vagina Monologues.” Executive Vice President Jasmine Charl?n and Catanzaro performed in the production, which ran Feb. 15, 17 and 18.
“This event has an ideological standpoint, and now we’re supporting that standpoint,” S. Lee Whitesell, vice president of Academic Affairs, said.
No action was taken to remove the poster.
Also approved at the meeting was Coptic Orthodox Fellowship, a new religious club on campus. “We’re trying to build unity between the 12 Coptic Orthodox Christians on campus and for future ones to come,” Mina Soryal, president and spokeswoman of the club, said.
The Coptic Orthodox Church, founded in approximately 50 A.D. by St. Mark the Apostle, is one of the world’s oldest churches and is the largest church in the Middle East. It is an apostolic, biblical, traditional, trinitarian and sacramental church. This means it is still rooted in tradition, more like the Roman Catholic Church than Protestant sects.
Some members questioned the need for a Coptic Orthodox Church with so few members on campus, but Sales said that “if the question is whether they can keep the club going, I think they can . (Soryal) already knows of more people coming next year.”
After the meeting, Soryal was very enthusiastic about the new club, and urged people to find out more about the Coptic Orthodox Fellowship at its grand opening next fall.
Georgette Kyriacou, civil engineering major, was appointed as the new junior class secretary. While this is only her second year at the College, she is a junior based on credits.