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Letter To The Editor: Campaign Etiquette

To the Editor:

My name is Matthew Hubbard, and I am a candidate for Senior Class President.  I recognize that statements have been issued publicly against me in regards to a misappropriation of student fees to fund my own campaign. While I have nothing acrimonious to say against either of my opponents, I wish to put those claims to rest.

It was stated in a Letter to the Editor last week that I was caught in the office making use of student activity funds to print and hang flyers for my campaign. This accusation was made in complete assumption and holds no fiber of truth.

On the Saturday prior to the publication of the accusations against me, a fellow senator and I met in the Student Government office before going out to hang publicity around campus.  The Senator mentioned brought previously printed posters, along with his own personal supplies, to the Student Government office. While we were discussing where to campaign and hang flyers, another one of my fellow Senators, and opponent in the campaign for Senior Class President, entered the office and took notice of the flyers that were sitting on the desk.

There was no point at which I was approached about the validity of the assumptions that were consequently made. I was not asked nor given any opportunity to set straight the facts of the assumptions. The alleged truths written against me were issued factitiously as part of one individual’s aggressive campaign.

I wish to make very clear; I will not run a negative campaign. I have nothing acrimonious to say of either of my opponents, but I will not tolerate libel against my name. My objective is simple: represent and honor the students of Central Connecticut State University.  I will continue to work diligently to make this year memorable for every student at this institution, and will continue to do so representing the highest forms of respect and professionalism.

 

– Matthew Hubbard, SGA Senator At-Large

Candidate for Senior Class President

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Administration Addresses Vance Hall Confusion

By Kassondra Granata

CCSU’s Vance Hall and eight Finance Committee recommendations were discussed at last week’s lengthy SGA meeting.

Dr. Laura Tordenti, the vice president of Student Affairs and Dr. Richard Bachoo, the chief administrative officer, spoke during the student affairs report about the recent decision to put the Vance renovations on hold.

“We just can’t afford to do the whole building this summer,” Tordenti said. “We don’t have the money. We would do the whole building if we could.”

There was concern expressed at last week’s Inter Residence Council (IRC) meeting from the Vance Executive Board. The hall said that they were disappointed and “misled” by the administration that their building would be finished this year. A member of the board said that the decision to put the renovations on hold would deter their return to live in Vance Hall in the fall.

Tordenti said that the new food service building will commence construction and a representative will be at the next IRC meeting to ask questions and suggestions of the general council. Sen. Simms Sonet asked Tordenti if the administration knew that the student body thought that Vance would be done by the summer.

“This is actually the first time hearing that students thought that,” Tordenti said.

Bachoo agreed with Tordenti and said that he was not aware that students expected that all renovations were to be completed.

“It is a huge project to think that it would be finished so quickly,” Bachoo said. Bachoo said that CCSU will be doing as many renovations as they can. He said that a goal is to complete two floors in Vance this summer.

“We are trying to get a floor done and by Christmastime we will get more work done,” Bachoo said. “We are not going to give you false hope. We can’t get all of it done this summer; it is impossible.”

According to Bachoo, University President Jack Miller said that CCSU will not shut down a residence hall until a new residence hall is built. Bachoo said that last week a team will be putting the new residence hall back online for selection through the summer into the fall.

During Committee Reports, the SGA allocated $250 for the Muslim Student Association to go toward their trip to North Carolina. The senate approved the PRIDE line-item change and approved the neuroscience base budget request for $200. The senate allocated Deuces Wild $400 for printing and refreshments and allocated the Biology Club $5000 for their conference trip.

The senate voted down on denying the Design Club’s contingency request and denied the Accounting Society’s contingency request.

An original motion to allocate $1750 to TGFI for a trip was changed by Sen. Ryan Baldassario to reduce the allocation to only $830, striking out the allocation of hotels. Sen. Bobby Berriault tried to amend the motion to give $300 to the group but that amendment failed. The motion to allocate TGFI $830 passed.

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Who Will Be The Next SGA President?

Brian Choplick

 

By Kassondra Granata

“When I take on a task, I don’t just try to fulfill responsibilities. I try to improve upon them and find new ways that we can affect people,” says Brian Choplick, a candidate for next year’s President of the Student Government Association.

Choplick, a resident senator, tranfserred over to CCSU in the fall and is currently a Resident Assistant (RA) in Sheridan. Choplick is also a part of the Finance Committee, co-chair on the Internal Affairs Committee, and chair of Club Sports.

“Last January, I decided I wanted to be involved in the decisions that would effect me on a daily basis,” Choplick says.

Sen. Chris Marcelli is supporting Choplick in his campaign, and says that Choplick would “excel” as president.

“He has a knack for reaching compromises by cutting through the noise and figuring out what it is people really want,” Marcelli says. “But he doesn’t just talk, he acts, and he does so with well-founded confidence. He knows how to roll with the punches, he doesn’t buckle under pressure and he doesn’t give up. He has the focus and the work ethic to make things happen on this campus.”

Choplick is majoring in MIS and says he plans to be in Higher Education as a career. He says he wants to be a president of a university.

Since elementary school, Choplick’s grandmother has told him that he was “never going to leave school” and that stuck with him throughout his career.

“I didn’t realize up until this year what she really meant by that and what capacity that really affected me,” Choplick says. “She always jokes that in high school I was the first one into the school and I closed it down at the end of the day. I love being around students, it is a great environment, a great culture that I constantly want to be around.”

If Choplick were elected, he says that he would take the same route that current SGA President Eric Bergenn has been taking.
“At the same time I would want to do different things,” says Choplick. “I think at some times, there are people who feel excluded from leadership on this campus. I want to reach out and not only hear what they have to say but get them involved in some way. It’s important to diversify the leadership on this campus.”

Choplick wants to continue with the Weekend Central initiative as well as diversifying types of events. Choplick says that although SGA isn’t a programming board, there are ways that the organization can collaborate with different clubs and boards on campus.

Choplick, who just attended COSGA, says that a certain quote from a keynote struck him and he is using that quote to motivate his campaign,

“If you build it they probably won’t come, if they build it, they will come and they will bring their friends.”

“We represent these people; but at the same time if we want something and we’re doing it, maybe it’s not what everyone else wants,” Choplick says.

As a co-chair on the Internal Affairs Committee, Choplick is working on different projects. The Internal Affairs Committee is in charge of reviewing bylaw changes and constitutional changes.

“It’s the stuff that makes SGA run, nothing to do with the public,” Choplick says. He is currently working on a dress code initiative as well as an endowment plan. Choplick hopes to alter scholarships as a senator or as president.

“I am looking to work out a plan that adds more money from whatever is left over in the year into the endowment so that the money we are investing into scholarships will not only affect the people this year but those every single year,” Choplick says.

Another part of his campaign is continuting to work on the night life shuttle. Although it has been shut down by the University, Choplick says that there are still things that the SGA can look into.

“It is very important to diversify the types of events that are going on on campus,” says Choplick. “Some students don’t find it effective. I think that this is an original idea that we don’t really offer right now and students were very interested in it when it first came out.”

Bergenn has announced his endorsement for Sen. Choplick during the first campaign week.

“Both of the candidates are good friends of mine who I have a great deal of respect for but, when it comes down to it, I think Brian is currently better prepared for the job,” Bergenn says. “He tends to have a good grasp on everything he’s involved with, and I think is more apt to deal with the pressure the presidency entails. They both have good ideas, and are both good leaders at CCSU already. I see the ideas that Brian wants to work on as more geared toward what a larger number of students want to see happen. I sincerely wish them both the best of luck.”

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Letter To The Editor: Kaiser Bubble Incident Response

To Those Who Are Responsible for Kaiser Bubble Vandalism:

There were plenty of members of our CCSU community partaking in mischief on Halloween night. For the most part, it is all in good fun and no one gets hurt. However, Thursday morning’s heinous act of vandalism crossed the line in the sand. Destroying the Kaiser Bubble offsets the incredible amount of effort the administration at CCSU has been taking to get that annex back on-line for the students. And now you’ve set fire to your own living room. Hundreds, if not thousands of students have been patiently waiting to use the bubble for recreational sports, including many of the club sports teams we all love and are so proud of. That is an area that many of your friends and neighbors spend most of their free time in, and it cannot be replaced.

Well, colleagues, welcome to the world of being an adult. It’s time to take responsibility for your actions. This is going to be hard to make up for, but I suggest you start doing it. A monthly installment plan is a start, but it’s going to take a while to pay off the possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Additionally, there’s a social responsibility to be made up for here, and you owe a debt to our community.

I think you should meet all of the people whom you’ve affected. I would suggest spending some time with those affected by observing how hard they work for the privilege to participate in the activities that take place in that structure. How about running some laps with the Frisbee Club or Lacrosse Club? Maybe training on the mats with the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club or hitting the courts with the Tennis Club and the Volleyball Club would be more appropriate. All of these may help begin to show empathy or remorse, but most of them cannot happen now because a lot of what they do takes place in the Bubble.

This goes beyond our clubs sports teams, what about RECentral? One of the best student services available at this university provides a large portion of what they do in the winter in that bubble. Thousands of students can be affected if fitness classes, open recreation time, and recreational sports suffer. What about the students who work for RECentral? They may or may not have as much work, and thus money, available to them because of your error.

This demands more than a public apology, but you better at least start there. I’m sure the Club Sports Board would like to hear from you. Maybe you can ask their Chair, Brian Choplick, if he’d even allow you to attend one of their meetings after this so that you can apologize.

I am appalled by the news and, personally, I don’t even utilize the bubble all that often. I can’t imagine how those who do are going to take it. I think you owe it to the student body to explain why we should have you as friends, roommates, colleagues, or even classmates anymore. I believe in forgiveness, but forgiveness is not always easy to come by. Our community deserves better than this.

Awaiting your response,

Eric Bergenn
President – Student Government Association

SGA And Faculty Senate Relationship A Priority For Bergenn

By Kassondra Granata

Student Government Association President Eric Bergenn said he hopes that senators will take on bigger roles this year after four senators stepped down last semester.

While he is hoping for more involvement from others, Bergenn has made the decision to step down from the finance committee. He will appoint a senator in his place.

“It says nothing in the bylaws that a president is required to be a part of a committee, whereas for a senator, it is required,” said Bergenn.

Bergenn said he plans on spending most of his time this semester at Faculty Senate. He is hoping that the two groups will eventually be able to work together, something he’s struggled with thus far after his initial efforts last semester.

Originally, Bergenn had proposed the idea to have eleven student voting members on the Faculty Senate back in October in order to make sure that the student voice is heard on important issues at CCSU.

He presented a printed report to the senate, noting the sections of each constitution that structured his proposal.

At that time, Faculty Senate President Candice Barrington put Bergenn’s recommendation straight to the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, but it still has not been addressed.

“It has been a clear and present goal of mine for the two groups to work more hand-in-hand together,” said Bergenn. “I think that a lot of the decisions that are made through Faculty Senate would really benefit when they get student input. In the last few years, it has been lacking.”

Bergenn said that the only way to persuade Faculty Senate of his goal is to have a presence there.

“That’s where I think I will be spending most of my time,” said Bergenn. “And because of those changes, we are going to need senators to take on a bigger role. Hopefully with that there will be a residual effect that if you are working harder at something you will follow through more because your time is concentrated there.”

President Bergenn is still unsure about what direction it will go, but he is hoping to figure that out at the first meeting.

“I think that it is beneficial that I take on this role,” said Bergenn. “I would like to set a precedent to have the President at their meetings and hopefully work that into our bylaws in the future.”

The weekend before classes started, SGA senators went to Camp Woodstock in Woodstock, Conn. for their annual retreat from Friday to Sunday.

Bernard Franklin, a well-known and influential speaker, spoke to the senate and expressed his feedback on how their senate is run. Franklin was the first elected African American student government president at Kansas State University. Currently, he is a role model to others nationwide and brings knowledge and experience to his lectures.

Senator Ryan Sheehan says he was very satisfied with their weekend retreat and the lecture from Franklin.

“It was really great, what he said is going to help us get more on track and more goal orientated,” said Sheehan.”A lot of times we get stuck in a rut arguing on allocations to clubs where we can be doing better things.”

Franklin talked to SGA about restructuring their constitution and how to avoid just being a bank for clubs. He also said that looking at their constitution, it was similar to what he would see in a high school student government.

“He guessed how our meetings were fairly accurately,” said Sheehan. “He is a student government guy, he was one of the best speakers we have ever had. The whole retreat was better handled than any year previous. Franklin was leading us off in a direction that will help the SGA in years to come.”

On Saturday the senate worked separately in their committees, each discussing their goals and working on their structure for the next semester. President Bergenn supplied the committees with make-shift calendars so they could be more organized.

This year’s retreat was the fourth retreat that Bergenn has attended, the second one that he has put on as president. Bergenn said he was very content on how it went.

“I think that this was very productive in terms of getting everyone on the same page,” said Bergenn. “I think that the group got to a perspective at not looking at arguing over smaller things, but more looking into the bigger picture. We really had the opportunity to get together and talk [to one another] and get to know each other. I think we are at a better point now than we have ever been since I have been on senate.”

Senators Weigh In On SGA Efficiency

By Jonathan Stankiewicz

Senators may have varying opinions on whether or not the SGA meetings are being conducted properly, but, according to SGA President Eric Bergenn, they are still getting things done.

At last week’s meeting, the senate allocated a substantial amount of money towards this years’ SGA scholarships and passed two bylaw changes. The changes took the better part of two hours in the near three- hour senate meeting.

“It may not be pleasant to sit through all that deliberation, but some things are going to be a rocky road, and that’s okay if it’s the will of the senate,” said Bergenn. “Going more smoothly is desirable to some, but the process by which we are working is in the best interest of the SGA.”

Senator Ivonne Lopez believes that there is always room for improvement. “Nothing’s perfect,” she said when it comes the senate taking its time during meetings.

The length of time that it takes the senate to do things is just the way it is, said Freshman Senator Simms Sonet. “It’s a necessary evil that needs to be conquered at that moment.”

Senator Shelby Dattilo was pleased with how last week’s meeting went. “That original motion was passed as presented,” said Dattilo, “and that says something.” She added that it’s important to go through everything so that everyone understands what’s going on, even if that requires back and forth debate for an extended period of time. As long as people understand the decisions made, it doesn’t matter how long SGA spends on something, said Dattilo

Vice President Liz Braun said she gets frustrated when senators don’t follow the rules, especially when things get too rowdy in senate meetings. During the meeting Braun wasn’t happy with how much time the senate spent on something that would have been better discussed in a committee meeting.

SGA Resident Senator Jeremy Truex also feels that SGA has been running quite smoothly as of late.

“I do believe that Wednesday’s Senate meeting started out good, but quickly turned badly as we started to lose many senators and almost lost quorum,” said Truex. “I was worried that we would lose quorum and have to put things on hold, like last week when we were ‘filibustered’ by Senator Towler who deliberately left so that we would lose quorum, which I was very displeased with.”

“They are still not being conducted as well as they should be,” added Truex, who believes that SGA loses quorum too quickly. Senators are only required to attend meetings from 3:05 p.m. until about 4:25 p.m.

“Many senators just get up and leave when the clock reads 4:20, which is completely understandable if they have a class or another meeting or event that they must attend, but I have noticed that some people skip out of the meeting early and I will see them wandering around shortly after,” Truex said.

Some people just need to cool off, said Sonet, who added that it does “get heated” in meetings, and some people do leave and come back.

Truex, a member of the Constitution and Bylaw Review Committee, added that he understands why certain things from committees get discussed so much in senate meetings. “Many people are not involved in the committees to understand what was being discussed,” said Truex. “Yes, there are minutes taken from each committee meeting, but many people will still believe that their ideas are far better than people that have been assigned to a committee, or are exercising for or against things presented whether or not they are in their own personal interest.”

Senator Heidy Sanchez reiterated that opinion.

“I believe that although many of us are on senate for ‘the right reasons,’ there are a number of senators who have their own agendas and things to accomplish through senate, which would be respectable if they went about it in the right way and for the benefit of a majority,” said Sanchez. “Admittedly, it is hard to get one’s personal bias and feelings separate from the task at hand, but it is what we’ve been elected to do and I don’t think everyone takes that seriously.” She added that she sees that the senate is trying to better itself.

SGA will be having a retreat over winter break to go over rules and how to write resolutions and bills, said Braun.

“Hopefully these workshops will help show how to keep committee work in committees and what other things we can actually accomplish in our senate meetings when bylaws and finances aren’t being discussed,” said Braun.