Posts Tagged ‘resident student association’
*shared byline with Maggie Cassidy
More than a week before the student body votes for the next Student Government Association (SGA) president, one of the candidates has already won an election.
Senator Matt Soleyn, who is running for SGA president against SGA Vice President for Student Services Ryan Fox, was’ reelected last night as RSA Vice President for Housing Services for the 2009-10 school year.
If elected to the SGA presidency, Soleyn said he ‘would maintain both jobs.’
“I believe that connecting two groups together is something that is important,” he said. “I would be able to improve the synergy between both groups.”
However, several SGA members, including Fox and SGA President Rob Ranley, raised concerns about whether Soleyn would be able to fully commit to both jobs if he were elected president.
“If he intends on keeping the one position and pursuing the second, he still really needs to look at the options,” Ranley said. “It might indicate that he doesn’t understand the scope of what he’s taking on. Knowing what I know about the time commitment of this position on top of your academic commitments … I don’t think that you could do both to the best of your abilities.”
SGA Vice President for Student Affairs Erin Pritchard said she did ‘not think it’s possible’ to hold both positions at once.
“After seeing Rob in the office this year and knowing how much even the [vice presidents] put into this organization, it concerns me greatly if Matt were to win the student body president,” she said. “It’s too much to ask for one person to basically be in charge of two very large, very prominent organizations on campus.”
Despite repeatedly pointing to his many hours serving SGA and RSA as vouchers for his ability to take on a commitment like SGA president, Soleyn said the RSA post requires a minimum of only four hours per week.
“Honestly, it’s not a large time commitment,” he said.
He also said that holding elected executive board positions on two large student groups that could possibly take opposing stances did not present a conflict of interest.
“I do not [think it’s a conflict of interest],” he said, pointing out that he was on the e-board of the Chess Club at the same time he was on the RSA e-board. “I think that they are both working for the students. They both have similar goals, similar tasks.”
If he were to serve on the e-boards of RSA and SGA and they took opposing views, he said, then he would have to “look at the two distinct roles. You may have to agree to disagree within yourself. You have to look at what role are you acting in … When views conflict it’s a matter of being able to separate out your roles and also serving as a unifying role.”
While Fox and Ranley said that the roles did not necessarily make for conflicts of interest, there was potential for conflict in the future.
“There have been times when we have been working on joint projects and RSA has a certain stance and we have a different stance,” Ranley said. “I could see there being times where there may be one project when RSA is looking at one solution and SGA is looking at a different solution.”
Soleyn was not the only one elected to an RSA position, however.
Other winners last night included Chuck Berds, who won Vice President for Finance unopposed while Scott was elected Vice President for Administration against last minute opponent Savannah Rose.
Last night the Resident Student Association (RSA) passed a piece of legislation challenging the university Board of Trustees’ plan to raise housing rates by 4.2 percent next year.
RSA’s legislation requested a cap of 3.6 percent.
The bill was almost passed unanimously with a vote of 61-1-0. The legislation also says it is possible for the increase to be less than 3.6 percent. This is possible, RSA members argued, because heating costs have significantly lowered since July 2008. There will also be additional revenue coming into the housing department because of Parcel 18′s completion, which is planned for June 30.
“There are some students that have plenty of money available,” Vice President for Housing Service Matthew Soleyn said. “The majority of students aren’t that lucky and are concerned about housing being unaffordable.”
The bill will continue to the Office of Student Affairs and eventually to the Board of Trustees for final votes, where RSA hopes it will continue to pass.
“I think the [SGA] Senate will have a lot of the similar debate RSA had and will pass,” Soleyn said. “I think the Code of Conduct Review Committee will see it’s what students want and that it’s in line with other educational institutions.”
Another bill was passed as well, reevaluating current sanctions of the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR), motioning that rather than a $100 fine for first offenses, students may opt to write a reflection essay. This action was prompted by the current economic crisis, Soleyn said, and RSA members argued that the $100 fine is ‘exorbitant’ to some students.
“We want the option instead of the fine because a lot of students don’t have the money for the fine,” Soleyn said. “Also, we looked at OSCCR and it said there was an educational goal, so having an educational option would be better for OSCCR the system.”
This led to a proposed amendment to the bill that would eliminate the option to write an essay, making the sanctions unchanged, and was narrowly defeated with a 28-31-2 vote, and then was passed 55-5-2.
“It seemed that a lot of people were concerned with eliminating the fine and allowing students to do an essay instead,” Soleyn said. “Also, [they were concerned] that it might not be effective and a lot of students would treat the essay as a joke.”
Additionally, RSA passed in the bill the ‘Good Behavior Policy’ which states that 12 months after a student’s first offense, if there are no further violations, students may apply to remove the offense from their permanent record.
A survey conducted by the Student OSCCR Assessment Committee (SOAC) showed that only 30 percent of students found the current sanctions to be appropriate to their violations. Only 18 percent of students surveyed said they felt that the current sanctions were educational.
The bill will be presented today to the Code of Conduct Review Committee as well as the Student Senate for review.