By Grace Gottsching
Student Government awarded College President R. Barbara Gitenstein a commendation for her diligent service, heard from the Student Finance Board, proposed a bill on livestreaming general body meetings and passed a resolution decrying mandatory edTPA requirements for education majors at its general body meeting on April 25.
SG executive president and junior civil engineering major Chris Blakeley presented Gitenstein with commendation C-S2018-01, which recognized her accomplishments during her nearly 20-year tenure as president. Gitenstein was the first female president of the College. Her successor, President-Elect Kathryn A. Foster, will be the second.
Gitenstein was unaware of the award prior to the meeting, and was surprised by the sentiment.
“Over the last 19 years I have seen such wonderful leadership from the students in terms of issues that have transformed this campus,” Gitenstein said. “Whether you have been serving in Student Government or as the president of a student organization, or as a student trustee, your voice has meant so much. Thank you so much. You don’t know how much this means to me.”
After a brief recess to capture a photograph of the moment shared between Gitenstein and SG, Gitenstein left her last meeting with SG.
B-S2018-10 will be voted on in the final SG general body meeting of the semester. The bill states that all general body meetings will be livestreamed in order to ensure inclusivity to a variety of students who may not be able to attend the meetings in person, such as those with conflicting schedules or those who live off-campus.
General body meetings, along with public SG voting records, are open to all students. SG believes creating a livestream will move the organization one step closer to being fully accessible to the student body.
R-S2018-04 was unanimously passed, resolving that SG formally disagrees with the current mandatory requirement for education majors to take the edTPA, a highly controversial exam meant to gauge if new teachers are prepared for the classroom.
In New Jersey, effective on September 1, “All Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing and Certificate of Eligibility candidates will be required to complete and pass edTPA by meeting or exceeding the New Jersey Department of Education established passing standard,” according to the edTPA website.
Former New Jersey Education Association Preservice President Ellen Bacon wrote after personally taking the exam that the “edTPA is a deterrent to the profession, unnecessarily time consuming and stressful.”
The edTPA requires more than 100 pages of written materials from students, as well as lesson samples and a video of them instructing a classroom. The exam costs as much as $300 to take and an additional $100 for resubmission. The resolution states that the complexities of the exam adds an unnecessary burden on emerging teachers.
SG also heard SFB’s master budget for fiscal 2018. The budget, which was not approved by SG and voted to be tabled for the next and final meeting of the semester, sparked concern over how certain funds have been allocated.
The one-sheet handout prepared by SFB contained several typos including mislabeled current and future year fiscal budget columns and incorrect data, adding to the confusion.
SFB stated they were not given enough time to assess the budget and had compiled the numbers for the handout just hours before presenting it to SG.
Provided the other data listed on the SFB handout is correct, the Special Appropriations budget, which sets aside funds for clubs to specially request event funding, nearly doubled in size –– it rose by 42 percent for a total of $310,161.05.
Additionally, $9,500 previously spent by the College on LionsGate software has been reallocated until new event software can be adopted. Options for new software were previously discussed in an SG general body meeting on April 11.