The new executive vice president of Student Government Association (SGA), James Gant, was announced at last week’s meeting. Also, despite opposition, a bill recognizing Equity and Diversity as a full committee of SGA was approved at the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, Christine Cullen, SGA executive president, announced her appointment of Gant as vice president. “I know Jim will do an amazing job,” Cullen said.
Gant, a former senator and last year’s Campus Police liaison, said he was “really excited about the position.” He announced plans to further integrate associate members into the organization and said he was glad to be able to help ease pressure on Cullen.
“Christine (Cullen) can focus on the president position now,” he said, “instead of spreading herself thin trying to do both (the president and vice president) jobs.”
Kamaria Byrd, vice president of Equity and Diversity, presented a bill that would result in a full committee to help her with her duties and responsibilities in pursuing equity and diversity at the College. As of press time, Byrd’s committee was staffed on a volunteer rather than mandatory basis.
“She really does need help,” Chris Rindosh, vice president of Student Services, said, rising in support of the bill.
The bill was passed with only one opposing vote, but the bill itself did not create the committee. With the passage of the bill, the question of whether or not to have a full Equity and Diversity committee was added to the referendum for the campus-wide SGA elections that were held Monday and Tuesday. As of press time, the results of the election, including the resolution as to whether or not the committee had been approved, were not yet in.
Drew Rausa, former SGA senator, rose during open session to speak against the bill. “I think Equity and Diversity asserts an ideological standpoint,” he said. “I believe it should not be something any member is forced on to.”
Although he did not support the bill, he prefaced his statements with support for the ideas behind the bill. “I feel that Equity and Diversity is a worthwhile committee,” he said, “but it does assert a viewpoint.”
SGA members also approved a new club at the meeting, and for the first time in more than 18 years, according to Rindosh, denied a new club. TCNJ Cycling was approved at the meeting. Its members hope to be in collegiate races by springtime, racing against schools like Harvard and Princeton. TCNJ Cycling is also working on getting sponsorship to help pay insurance costs.
Tau Beta Sigma (TBS) was denied official club status by SGA, something that has not happened in at least 18 years, according to Rindosh. Introduced as a stress relief and emotional support club, many SGA members took issue with the name and its use of Greek letters.
“It’s confusing why they would not approve the club unless it’s because of the name,” Rindosh, who introduced the club, said.
SGA members suspended a number of bylaws, and broke some rules, in their handling of the club. (See “Tau Beta Sigma – not good to go” page 1).
“I’m confused as to why (SGA) went into total closed session to discuss a club constitution,” Rausa, who raised issue with the SGA’s breach of constitutional procedure, said at the end of the meeting.
Because SGA went into closed session, the exact reason for the denial of TBS is unknown.
Nicole Kasian, junior class vice president, suggested that TBS “change (its) name and mission statement and give it another go.”
Steve Viola, junior class treasurer, rose during open session and proposed that SGA “work out a Student Bill of Rights.” He said “a lot of students are not aware of their rights” and that a bill of rights would be helpful.
Cullen also appointed Megan Odom, sophomore accounting major, as SGA secretary. Cullen was looking for someone like Odom who was not previously in SGA.
Additionally, seven new associate members were approved at the meeting: Alaine Boccafola, sophomore business and marketing major; John Bryndza, junior biomedical engineering major; Tom Coughlin, freshman engineering major; Greg Eiding, freshman accounting major; Samantha Carrick, freshman business major; William Morris, freshman business and economics major; and Matt Cheetham, junior mechanical engineering major.