March 29, 2020

SGA sloshed by Senior Week

Heated debate regarding the programming content of the next Senior Week ensued at the Nov. 29 meeting of the Student Government Association (SGA). It focused largely on the new alcohol-free policy for the event. Senior Week is intended to serve as a fun and exciting culmination to the academic efforts of graduating students of the College.

Tom Sales, senior associate member, delivered a brief speech regarding the banning of alcohol consumption within the residence halls during Senior Week.

“(The College administration has) fundamentally changed the nature of (Senior Week) without the consent of, and in direct opposition to, the elected representatives of the student body,” Sales said.

Paraphrasing Lynette Harris, director of Community Standards, Sales said, “If the administration recognizes that we’re drinking either way, rather than holding out a vain and downright stupid vision of an alcohol-free future, we’ll be less safe.”

Other SGA members disagreed with Sales. Daria Silvestro, student trustee, stressed that allowing alcohol consumption in the dorms during Senior Week inadvertently alienates members of the senior class who do not drink.

“We’re ostracizing many members of our community basing Senior Week on alcohol,” Silvestro said.

While voicing their concern regarding alcohol consumption during Senior Week, SGA members, including junior senator at-Large Dan Beckelman, executive vice president James Gant, Sales and others praised the planning efforts of the senior class council.

Women in Computing and Science (WICS) was granted official SGA club status by a vote of 28-14. The organization was created with the intent of clarifying job opportunities for women in the fields of computing and science – career paths that are statistically lacking women.

Members of SGA questioned the necessity of the organization, citing other clubs that deal with both computing and science. Other SGA members were concerned that the concept of the club was divisive due to its emphasis on women.

“(WICS) wants to develop (its) organization through segregation,” Steve Link, president of Academic Affairs, said.

Beckelman shared a similar sentiment, and also questioned the originality of the organization.

“We can’t have too many clubs duplicating the same purpose,” Beckelman said.

“Start a new precedent and vote no,” Link said.

Flamur Rama, junior senator of Culture and Society, stressed the need for the organization, emphasizing the deficiency of women in the science and computing field.

Beckelman discussed the outcome of a recent lobbying session with an aide of State Senator Stephen Sweeny.

The Democratic senator’s aide was receptive to the College’s loss of $4 million in state financial assistance. The aide said that Sweeny is supportive of higher education and will continue to work with SGA members in order to recoup the funding lost to budget cuts on higher education.

Steve Viola, junior class treasurer, spoke regarding a recent meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Police Relations.

Viola said that the committee has met on four separate occasions and has decided to take a “proactive” approach toward improving community relations with Campus Police.

Committee members will continue to interview administrative officials associated with security at the College as well as members of the office of Campus Police.

The committee seeks to abate tensions between Campus Police and members of the College community.

Viola also addressed recent efforts to increase student involvement in the academic integrity hearing process.

According to Viola, the dean of the School of Culture and Society, Susan Albertine, said in an e-mail that involving students in the academic integrity hearing process violates the privacy of students.

Albertine also said that in cases of accidental or unintentional plagiarism, many students express concerns regarding the confidentiality of the violation.

Viola responded, citing the honor codes implemented by numerous colleges and universities that call on students to monitor each other for plagiarism.

Although Viola stopped short of recommending a similar code for the College, he did stress the involvement of students at all administrative levels of the College.

Mike Strom, vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs, addressed legal services of the College.

The College offers free legal services to students; however, the extent of those services has been in question.

Request forms for legal services at the College will now be made available in the SGA cubicle in the office of Campus Activities.

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