SGA to look into voting drive bias, Sodexho hiring policies

Political bias may be present in a voter registration drive led by Michael Strom, vice president of Legal and Government Affairs, according to senator at-Large Dan Beckelman.

Student Government Association (SGA) members also raised concerns regarding Sodexho’s employment of individuals with outstanding arrest warrants and the prosecution of students engaged in illegal downloading.

The voter registration drive is being conducted in anticipation of the November U.S. senatorial race between Republican Tom Kean Jr. and Democrat Bob Menendez. Upon examination of the voter registration forms, Beckelman noted that the vast majority of students were registering in heavily Democratic districts.

“It seems as though they tended to register those who would vote for Menendez,” Beckelman said.

Beckelman said his primary concern was the potential influence on the registration process made by the Menendez campaign.

“I wonder if they were prodded by Menendez to register people like that,” Beckelman said.

In response to this concern, SGA Executive President Christine Cullen assured that she and Strom would “look into it.”

In reference to an altercation two weeks ago between two Sodexho employees, junior class treasurer Steve Viola spoke out against Sodexho’s hiring of employees with outstanding arrest warrants.

“Can we screen people before we hire them, just as a point of good faith?” Viola asked.

James Gant, SGA executive vice president, said Sodexho’s program is intended to give job opportunities within Sodexho for newly released convicts.

“You’ll expect people with warrants,” Gant said.

Viola, however, was not convinced.

“I think that the school has gone to great lengths for security with the crackdown on underage drinking and the 24-hour swipe access policy, but this is in direct opposition.”

Chris Rindosh, vice president of Student Services, cautioned students against illegal downloading.

According to Rindosh, the College is using a third-party organization to track students who use peer-to-peer file sharing programs such as LimeWire and Direct Connect. This organization bypasses the College in its issuance of fines, which could amount to more than $20,000.

Rindosh also presented plans regarding a possible school-sponsored subscription-based media provider, similar to Apple’s iTunes. This service would cost $20 per month per student. More specific plans regarding a trial period are to follow.

In a recent lobbying session with New Jersey state officials, Beckelman was denied a meeting with New Jersey Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat from Edison. The purpose of the lobbying meeting was to discuss the effect of state budget cuts on the College.

Beckelman was deferred to Buono’s aide, who defended Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s cutting of funding for higher education.

“(Buono’s aide) was being a shill for the Democratic Party rather than a true legislator,” Beckelman said.

Dining Services liaison Meagan Terry addressed the issue of food allergies. She said that in the event of an allergic reaction, the proper course of action is for students to notify any of the Sodexho managers. Their business cards are readily available at the Eickhoff entrance.

Terry announced plans for a canned food drive to be held on Oct. 18. She also introduced the new Global Taste program, which offers value meal and drink combinations to students in Brower Student Center.

New additions were made to SGA, including the inauguration of new senators. Additionally, Nicole Reilly, freshman business major, and Meghan Lee, senior secondary education/Spanish major, were given approval and sworn in as associate members.