SGA brings business to State House

The March 21 meeting of the Student Government Association (SGA) took place at the New Jersey State House. Dan Scapardine, sophomore senator of Culture and Society, said SGA meets annually at the State House as an honorific gesture from the state to SGA. Despite the change of venue, SGA went about its normal affairs and procedures.

The cancellation of Senior Week was officially presented to SGA and was met with resistance by two SGA members. The announcement was originally made in an e-mail message written by Mollie Seiferas, Senior Class president, and was received by seniors at the College last Monday evening.

Steven Link, vice president of Academic Affairs, initially praised Senior Class Council officials for their “hard work” and “dedication” in the planning of the event. This was then followed by the condemnation of what Link described as the ambivalence of SGA executives.

“(The cancellation of Senior Week) should never have happened,” Link said. “These are the results that will (occur) when our elected student leaders in SGA just go with the flow and isolate those with differing and alternative viewpoints without fully exploring alternative options.”

In a telephone interview, Dan Beckelman, junior senator at-Large, agreed with Link’s statements. “The SGA executive board should have been more vigilant in their opposition to the administration,” Beckelman said.

Beckelman also acknowledged isolation attempts within SGA, adding that only Link and another member of the executive board opposed the changes to Senior Week. Beckelman said he received criticism from supporters of the decision to ban alcohol consumption in the Travers and Wolfe dormitories.

James Gant, executive vice president, spoke regarding progress made by the ad hoc Committee on Campus Police. The committee was formed during the Fall 2006 semester to address concerns with the Office of Campus Police.

Since its formation, the committee has created a 40-page report. Gant said in an e-mail interview that the report discloses specific instances of student interactions with Campus Police, obtained through testimony and research. When asked to describe some of the instances, Gant declined, citing the present confidential state of the report. The report was delivered to President R. Barbara Gitenstein’s office prior to Spring Break. Gant met with Gitenstein to discuss the findings on Monday, but the findings have not been released to the public.

“We hope to see our recommendations considered by Campus Police, the administration and the Board of Trustees,” Gant said.

Michael Strom, vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs, revealed plans for a rally in Trenton on May 3. In an e-mail interview, Strom said the rally will be held for the restoration of the Outstanding Scholarship Recruitment Program (OSRP) and for the recuperation of lost funding for higher education.

Strom expects a turnout of around 300 students in addition to more from other schools. Four-year colleges and universities from across the state have been invited, though the Legal and Governmental Affairs committee may open the event to all colleges and universities. Presently, the event is co-sponsored with Phi Alpha Delta fraternity. SGA encourages other student organizations to co-sponsor the event.

“There needs to be a commitment to better public higher education,” Strom said. “If we manage to get several hundred students out there, we may hope to have OSRP restored and get the restoration (of funding) the College desperately needs and deserves.”

Chris Rindosh, vice president of Student Services, announced the Organizational Ambassador Program (OAP) was to begin the week of March 19. OAP provides limited SGA supervision of all student organizations. An SGA senator will periodically attend each organization’s meetings or events to help maintain club activity and to promote SGA regulations and guidelines.