Student rights resolution stalled over semantics

Michael Levy, vice president of Administration and Finance, formally presented the Resolution Reaffirming Student Rights for a vote at last week’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting. The resolution is intended to represent the solidified stance of SGA and the student body on recent, intensified Campus Police activity at the College.

“There have been some issues we’ve had recently with Campus Police,” Levy said.

In prior weeks, police activity at the College has escalated. The “issues” noted by Levy include frequent raids of off-campus parties, issuance of numerous citations for underage drinking and increased issuance of parking tickets. The resolution is meant to assert the collective sentiment of the student body in response to the aforementioned police activities.

“Campus Police (has) coerced people into giving up their rights,” Drew Rausa, senator of Art, Media and Music said.

The resolution, however, did not come to a vote. The vote was delayed until next week’s meeting due to disagreements over wording within the resolution.

These disagreements were brought forth by Rausa, who questioned segments of the bill that asserted the “high caliber” academic nature of the College as well as the maturity and responsibility of students.

Junior class treasurer Steve Viola, co-author of the resolution, said that upon consulting students, it was determined that students felt they were treated like children by Campus Police. Viola said, in defense of the resolution’s wording, that students at the College are adults with full civil liberties and should be treated as such.

In spite of his disagreement with the resolution’s wording, Rausa later said he fully supports the resolution and plans on voting in its favor.

At the Oct. 18 SGA meeting, Viola expressed discontent with a headline of The Signal that week. The headline, “Students fight for their right to party,” was associated with an article that described the events that took place at the demonstration for student rights outside of New Residence Hall.

“The headline undermines what our goal was in having the protest,” Viola said.

Viola said that the true purpose of the demonstration was to assert that students at the College were unhappy with the violation of their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, which ensure protection against unreasonable search and seizure as well as due process of law.

Viola said the headline suggested that “we’re only about alcohol abuse, and we’re not about that at all.”

At last week’s meeting, Steven Link, vice president of Academic Affairs, announced that ProfRecord, the database created to replace Pick-a-Prof, will be up and running this week.

ProfRecord will provide grade distributions as well as feedback regarding professors at the College to better facilitate the class selection process.

Although ProfRecord is nearly ready, Link called for additional volunteers to work toward its completion. The expansive database still requires the input of approximately 3,600 lines of data before it can become operational.

With a week remaining before the beginning of registration for classes, Link called upon SGA members to help input the remaining data under the supervision of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), a student organization. ACM created ProfRecord and has been commended for its efforts by SGA.

At the Oct. 18 SGA meeting, vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs Michael Strom presented a resolution that, if adopted, would take recognition away from 18 clubs deemed inactive by the Office of Campus Activities. Strom said that the 18 clubs failed to register for the 2006-07 academic year and exceeded the six-month leeway period.

Strom afforded an additional one-week period to the clubs to register after contacting them by e-mail. Those that did not respond are listed for losing recognition in the resolution.

Strom said that SGA will continue to take an active stance on the monitoring of club activity.

On Oct. 25, Meagan Terry, dining services liaison, announced plans initiated by Sodexho for the provision of weight-conscious food options at the Marketplace Convenience Store as well as the Brower Student Center food court. These selections, containing 300 calories or less, have been created with outside assistance from a dietician contracted by Sodexho.

Jen Hill, freshman senator, discussed student concerns regarding noise in the New Library. Students have noticed that the library continues to be noisy, even in locations distant from the caf?, like the third and fourth floors. Potentially, signs asking students to be courteous could be created and placed within the elevators.

At the Oct. 18 meeting, Chris Rindosh, vice chairman of Student Services, conducted an “informal survey” asking that all those present at the meeting who own cell phones raise their hands. Immediately, the hands of every senator and executive board member were elevated.

Rindosh said that there are approximately 100 students currently signed up for the College’s telephone service. This record low for use of College phones comes with the avid use of cell phones.

Rindosh described potential plans for increasing cell phone service on campus in order to decrease reliance on the College phone system. Rindosh said that cell phone service providers could potentially install signal boosters on campus that would allow for better coverage.

The College is hesitant to remove all campus phones for safety reasons. Because cell service is inconsistent across campus and similarly, varies with different service providers, room phones provided by the College serve as more reliable means of communication in emergency scenarios. Additionally, all College phones display the origin of the call when Campus Police is called, whereas cell phones do not.

Rindosh said that additional student surveys as well as communication with College officials need to take place before the switch is made.