by Angela Fortuna
A recent request made by the Student Veterans Organization sparked a debate in the Student Government Association at Central Connecticut State University over logical decision-making and open communication between clubs and the student government.
The SVO reached out to the SGA in hopes of receiving funds to purchase T-shirts and sweatshirts for the 2017-2018 school year.
The request was approved on April 5, but was later vetoed by SGA President Jahmil Effend because all the necessary information was not present to make a decision, he later explained.
“Senate is composed of about 39 members and many senators were not present to voice their opinions and concerns with the request. There were only 23 members present to make the vote,” said Effend. “We are a governing body, we cannot be emotional. I believe the senate has been making irresponsible decisions as far as taking into account the responsibility necessary to really represent the student body.”
Treasurer Brendan Kruh expressed his opposition to Effend in regards to the SVO contingency request.
“I’m going to vote yes to overturn the veto. A lot of you will be angry with me and that’s okay. I don’t answer to you, I answer to the student body and students,” said Kruh to the SGA. “I have to do what’s right for this senate, what’s right for the year [and] for future senates. At end of the day, this senate has changed since my time.”
On April 12, SVO Vice President Paul Small attended the SGA meeting for the third week in a row after the organization was not asked to participate in a veterans panel held on campus. Small spoke of the senators’ behavior and how he and other members of the SVO feel marginalized.
“SVO feels alienated by the student body, specifically the Social Justice Committee,” said Small. “It’s unnecessary for us to feel so alienated by a group on campus, it’s ridiculous.”
Some SGA members acknowledge the problem of communication between the SGA and clubs on campus.
“I am deeply disturbed with the direction of members of [the] SGA. We no longer seem to have the ability to use logic and reasoning for our decision making,” said Senator Danielle Plaskonka, addressing the SGA.
“We need to listen to what our clubs are saying to us; whether we agree or not, we cannot attack them continuously just because we disagree,” said Senator Eric Ott to the SGA.
During the meeting, discussion began over remarks on Facebook made by Senators Plaskonka and Sawera Hussan in regards to requesting money for clothing items, similar to what the SVO did.
“[Plaskonka and Hussan] prompted all CCSU groups to come to SGA and make a request similar to [SVO’s],” said Small.
Hussan posted, “let’s get sweatshirts fam” on Facebook, tagging the Muslim Student Association at CCSU.
“It didn’t happen on SGA time, people are people and they are allowed their own freedoms to do whatever they want to do in their personal time,” said Effend in response to the Facebook posts.
Small disagreed during the meeting, and felt the SGA should be held responsible for what they say and post on social media.
“It’s a damn shame. It’s a shame there isn’t a way to impeach senators. It makes no sense that senators are allowed to say and do whatever they want and not be held accountable,” said Small to the SGA.
The SGA believes the constructive criticism of outside clubs helps create discussion on the topic at hand.
“Any discussion is good. Having healthy discussion is important for [the SGA],” said Effend. “I think the fact that there are so many opinions in the room and so many voices being heard is a good thing.”
Former SGA Senator Josh Quintana spoke to the SGA as a whole at the senate meeting.
“You guys need to act like adults and take leadership seriously on campus. You are the student government. These arguments about Facebook, who wronged who, is childish and asinine,” said Quintana.
“As unnecessary as it was for the SVO, it was needed for the student government to really take the job seriously going forward,” said Effend. “The biggest role of the student government is to represent the people and [make sure] their voices are heard.”