Viola presents detriments of cuts to higher education

Steve Viola, junior class treasurer, unveiled a presentation to Student Government Association (SGA) members on the negative effects of the state budget cuts to the College. This presentation will be used by SGA in future lobbying scenarios regarding higher education.

In his presentation, Viola demonstrated the expansive negative effect of recent budget cuts on higher education. Viola said that the lowest income bracket of the New Jersey taxation system requires 91 percent of annual familial income to pay for college education.

According to Viola, the phasing out of the Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program has only increased the burden on low-income families of college students. He said that this dissuades low-income students from entering college and increases student debt upon graduation.

“As a campus of voters, we’re a force to be reckoned with,” Michael Strom, vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs, said in response to the presentation.

In another matter, Strom refuted claims of bias in a voter registration campaign made by junior senator at-Large Dan Beckelman.

“I didn’t believe there was any merit to his statement,” Strom said.

The campaign took place under the joint supervision of SGA and the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority. SGA registered voters at a table outside of Eickhoff dining hall. Strom said that students registered of their own volition and were in no way coerced.

“If the capital sees that there are 6,000 voters (who) can join together in a cause, they will hopefully take us more seriously,” Strom said.

Beckelman later said in a telephone interview that initially there was concern over bias in the registration process. However, upon review of additional registration forms, indications of bias toward Democratic districts “balanced out” with additional registration forms from Republican districts.

The registration drive garnered approximately 120 newly registered voters.

Strom thanked members of the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority for their efforts. A resolution commending their work is scheduled to be voted on at this week’s meeting.

In a recent meeting with Tim Asher, associate director of Student Activities, it was brought to Strom’s attention that there are 20 inactive clubs currently recognized by SGA. The clubs in question face potential revocation of their charters if they do not comply with training requirements set forth by the office of Student Activities. Alpha Zeta, a club for students enrolled in the seven-year medical program, was denied club status altogether.

Asher wants mandatory training sessions for clubs to occur two to four times per academic year to prevent club inactivity. These sessions will differ from the mandatory Leadership Development Program sessions already required of clubs.

Tiana Lautato, sophomore class vice president, announced that the College is tentatively considering replacing TESS with a new system, Student Administrator (SA).

Lautato said that she will “make sure that the system is right for the students.”

SA is expected to debut either in the coming Spring semester or next year’s Fall semester. Although registration for classes would take place via the new system, tuition bills would continue to be paid through TESS. Lautato said that students will be engaged through to determine sentiment toward the new SA system.

Dining Services liaison Meagan Terry announced Sodexho’s plans to introduce an Asian station in the Eickhoff dining hall. It would replace the international section during the evening. Terry stressed that the international station would remain open in the afternoon, serving its usual selections. A date for the opening of the new station has not been agreed upon yet.

Terry also said that students should discuss potential food allergies with a Sodexho manager before complications arise.

Terry expressed continued enthusiasm for the nationwide canned food drive, “Cans Across America,” to be held on Oct. 18. She encourages students to donate. Viola voiced discontent with remarks made by Shaina Basile, sophomore criminology and justice studies major in the Opinions section of last week’s Signal. Viola said that her remarks regarding the disqualification of SGA executive members due to alcohol violations portray SGA senators unfairly.

“We’re not jokers in suits; we do care about students,” Viola said.