Also published on The Gothic Times’ website
Student Gov’t Hash Out Over Letter
New Jersey City University, Jersey City, New Jersey––Tempers sizzled at the March 22nd Student Government council meeting in which student officers argued over a letter asking V.P. of Activities, Carolina Garcia, to shape-up or step down.
“I’m being scrutinized,” said Garcia. “I felt [that] if I signed the letter, I would’ve waived my right to due process.”
Before the council meeting, the SGO Executive Board had a private meeting where SGO President Cory Spencer, who signed the letter, reviewed it with Garcia present. Spencer was unavailable to comment with The Gothic Times.
The issues raised in the letter were apparently resolved until emerging again at the March 22nd council meeting, where Asheenia Johnson, an active student and member of SGO, presented a written case against letter.
“I do believe the SGO President owes an apology to the Student Council for attempting to overstep their powers, to the student body for allowing the Executive Board member to be negligent in [her] duties, and to our V.P. of activities,” Johnson stated.
“She’s doing a great job, but we all have flaws,” said V.P. of Finance and Administration, Oneil Madden. “The letter stated things she needs to work on.” One of the letter’s guidelines asks Garcia to report to Madden when using money from the Activities Budget.
As to what elicited the letter, opinions abound.
After discussing tuition issues with NJCU President Carlos Hernandez before the March 4th protest, the SGO E-Board privately agreed not to march into Hernandez’s office with other student protestors, since, as VP of Public Information, Olumayowa Okubanjo, explained, “We feel the tuition battle is in Trenton, not with NJCU.”
Garcia felt differently and disagrees with NJCU’s ability “spend arbitrarily.” She protested in Hernandez’s office, despite the previous verbal agreement.
“The whole E-Board wasn’t as involved in the March 4th movement. The students wanted this. [The] E-Board must see what students want, especially their desire to protest the [tuition] hike,” said Garcia, adding, “March 4th was the last straw with the E-Board,” implying that her active protesting induced the letter.
“The SGO Board is elected to represent students,” said Fady Nakhla, 19, a Freshman who was present at the March 22nd council meeting. “Even though there was a verbal contract, it’s okay to represent students at the strike. [Garcia] was unethical in breaking the contract, but she wasn’t wrong in helping students.”
Administrators have little power over the inner workings of NJCU’s student government, mainly keeping advisory and monetary responsibilities. According to the Assistant Dean of Students, Amani S. Jennings, “The administration didn’t know about the letter beforehand,” adding, “The letter wasn’t [done] within proper procedure.”
Much like the federal government, the Student Government Organization has a comprehensive set of regulations within its constitution. After being reviewed by a number of key faculty supervisors, the letter was deemed as unconstitutional and revoked.
“Students didn’t want to impeach her publicly,” said Assistant Dean of Students, Wanda Shipman, who said that Garcia agreed to follow guidelines. Shipman also noted that she hasn’t seen this much student “fervor in 15 or so years. It’s exciting as long as people are respectful with their fervor.”
Although Garcia ran for SGO president for the 2010-2011 academic year, Fatima Terry, a psychology major, won the race by sixty-four votes. Garcia will maintain her position as V.P. of Activities and simply wants to finish the school year right, she said, as many in her E-Board do.
“It’s a perfect moment for students to see what’s going on with their leadership and what needs to be done with their activity fees, said Assistant Director of Special Projects, Renata Moreira, a student activist. “If the student body doesn’t participate, they won’t have a say in what they want.”
Ever had a complaint about NJCU––the food stinks, the parking is scarce, security needs to secure better, etc.? SGO is made up of student mediators who can help! Or at least who can hear out your bickering.
(Taken from the SGO website)
The Student Government Organization is the official body of clubs, organizations, and student representation on the campus of New Jersey City University. Its purposes are:
-To provide an effective democratic system of government whereby the members of the student body may express themselves on policies and procedures of the University
-To review policies and procedures of the University and to recommend legislation pertaining to the student body.
-To charter, fund and assist in the coordination of the activities of student clubs and organizations.
-To provide activities for the student body.
-To maintain and promote student participation and accountability in all phases of university life through:
a. regular free SGO elections
b. regular SGO Student Council meetings
c. regular student activities
d. regular attendance and participation in university functions pertaining to the student body.