The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Tuesday December 5th

Student Government general body meeting ends in heated debate over delegate responsibilities

<p>(Photo courtesy of Ayden Isibrian)</p>

(Photo courtesy of Ayden Isibrian)

By Leah Cruz 

Student Government (SG) held a weekly general body meeting on Oct. 25 to discuss a number of topics, including new clubs becoming recognized student organizations, proposals to improve dining at the College and a heated debate about the responsibilities of the delegate cohort. 

The meeting began with Lions Fencing and Kalyani both presenting their clubs to SG in hopes of becoming a recognized student organization (RSO). 

Becoming an RSO allows clubs and organizations to receive active oversight from the College and offers access to benefits such as funding from the Student Finance Board, storage space for equipment and advertising.

Members of the Lions Fencing Club presented the club as a way to bring the campus community together and promote physical wellness, in addition to teamwork and collaboration. Kalyani is a club that aims to showcase south asian music and global performances to create a space for south asian musicians on campus. 

The motions to recognize both clubs were passed. 

The first thing discussed among the open floor agenda items was the Student Activity Fee (SAF) Reserve project ideas, presented by Aria Chalileh, a junior political science major and vice president of student services. SAF works to financially support different student events and programs on campus. The massage chairs in the student center, the fitness and basketball courts and the digital display wall have all been created through the SAF Reserve project initiative that aims to enrich the student experience using leftover SAF funds not used during the academic year. 

Chalileh is actively working with Vice President of Student Affairs Sean Stallings to determine what other projects students want to see come to life on campus.

Chalileh also presented several plans to improve dining at the College. She proposed allowing students to use meal equivalency on the weekends, increasing the number of swipes used with meal equivalency, incorporating an online app for pre-ordering food, addressing the lack of options for students with dietary restrictions outside of Eick and the price markups for items at the C-store. 

Strongly advocating for the betterment of the student experience, Chalileh explained that even though it will be hard work, changes must be made to improve dining on campus. 

When a student raised concerns about the potential rise in tuition as a result of the aforementioned changes, Chalileh responded saying, “the focus should not be profit, it should be the student experience.”

Jordan Shyi, director of intercultural affairs, spoke to SG about the department’s upcoming initiatives to create a more inclusive environment on campus through a diversity summit that fosters connections between alumni, employers, students and faculty. He also advertised the number of inclusion training workshops that the Department of Intercultural Affairs will be offering to clubs and student organizations to promote critical thinking and inclusivity. 

SG then moved on to discuss the new business on the agenda that included items to be voted on at the next meeting. This included three clubs: the Rebel Arts Movement, TCNJ Democrats and the Sikh Student Association. 

Catherine Lillja, a student government delegate, and Vice President Jared Williams presented a resolution for a pilot program that would place dispensers stocked with free menstrual products in bathrooms. There are dispensers already installed in Roscoe West and the Education Building; the aim of the proposal is to provide free menstrual products in high-traffic areas on campus, such as the Brower Student Center and the library. 

While the resolution does not guarantee this idea will be implemented, student government sponsors are actively figuring out the logistics and ways to make it happen. 

Sophomore biology and public health major Shayaan Makki, the head of the delegate cohort, proposed a bill to increase the responsibilities of the delegate cohort and allow its members the same voting rights as elected members. 

The delegate cohort, which is composed of non-elected and non-appointed members of Student Government, can only vote on passing bills and do not have all the same responsibilities as elected members. There is no appointment or impeachment process for delegates which brings into question the need for accountability.  

As opinions differed regarding the topic of delegate power, the student government general body entered into their first debate of the semester. 

Aryan Kapadia, a junior biology major and senator for the school of science, told The Signal that he felt the debate could have gone much smoother and explained the potential ramifications of increasing delegate responsibilities. 

“It’s too much power for someone who doesn’t serve as an elected member,” Kapadia said. “It comes down to a checks and balances thing.”

The governing body debated the issues with two members making their points for both sides and ultimately voted against passing the bill.

As the meeting wrapped up, a number of governance reports were given by members that represent the different committees on campus followed by a cabinet feedback session where each member of the cabinet was dismissed from the meeting to allow the rest of the members to discuss the ways in which they believe the cabinet is performing.


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