By Michelle Lampariello
Student Government held a confirmation hearing for its first deputy speaker, accepted nominations for a new parliamentarian, passed two bills and discussed two resolutions at its meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Brittany Cruz, a junior communication studies major, was confirmed as SG’s deputy speaker after a vote. Cruz previously served as a senator for the School of Arts and Communication.
“I did great work advocating for (Arts and Communication students), we got a whole bunch of things, and I feel like now I want to transition into advocating for general members,” Cruz said.
SG is searching for a new parliamentarian, who will be responsible for upholding all rules and procedures established by SG at all meetings. Nominations for the position were taken at the Oct. 18 meeting, and speeches and voting are scheduled to occur at the meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
Suchir Govindarajan, a freshman economics major, presented a resolution condemning the exclusion of transgender people from the military.
“The Student Government of The College of New Jersey acknowledges that the current Reserve Officers Training Program does not discriminate against applicants or volunteers based on gender identity — only on leadership, athletic or scholarly abilities,” according to the resolution.
The resolution, which will be debated and voted on at SG’s Oct. 25 meeting, seeks to ensure that the College’s ROTC program remains open to people of all gender identities, regardless of national policies.
Alvin Tran, a sophomore psychology major, presented a second resolution seeking to bring back the mints from the 2016-17 academic year to campus dining locations.
“The Student Government of The College of New Jersey recognizes that students have expressed discontent in the new mints at campus dining locations that have replaced the mints provided previously to the 2017-2018 academic year,” the resolution states.
The larger, individually wrapped mints were removed for the 2017-18 school year due to litter concerns. After conducting a survey, Tran found that out of 265 responses, 85 percent of students prefer the old mints as opposed to the new, smaller mints that are dispensed from canisters at campus dining locations.
“There is a clear consensus in terms of what students want in these dining services for these mints specifically, and this is the most formal way of conveying student opinion,” Tran said of the resolution.
The resolution will be debated and voted on at SG’s Oct. 25 meeting.
Two bills were also passed at the Oct. 18 meeting. The first bill adds a responsibility for the executive president to follow SG’s strategic plan. The second bill clarifies responsibilities of the cabinet and stipulates that cabinet members must attend both general body and cabinet meetings.
Elizabeth Bapasola, vice president for student affairs and SG’s adviser, announced that there is an SG scholarship now available to students involved in SG. Any associated or elected SG member is eligible to apply for the scholarship, with the exception of SG members who receive a monetary stipend.
“This is something that past student governments have fundraised for, and now it is an endowed scholarship that we give out annually,” Bapasola said.
During governance reports, SG discussed efforts to modernize the College’s technology, including making improvements to PAWS and moving the College’s data to the cloud instead of storing it in servers in the basement of Green Hall.
SG also discussed potentially moving the student feedback period from the end of the semester to the middle of the semester to get a higher response rate. SG acknowledged that if students could see their professors make changes to their classes during the second half of the semester based on student feedback, then they may be more likely to complete the feedback form on PAWS.