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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Nathan, You’re Alright

    The quotation from former President Gerald Ford, stated by Nathan Shapiro, aptly describes the situation at hand. According to many online sources, Ford stated during the Nixon era, ‘An impeachable offense is basically whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.’

    We have a situation here where the crime in question probably wasn’t as heinous as Romual’s hate crime extravaganza last semester. Did he know that he was breaking the law? According to Shapiro, he did not. However, we find that rather hard to believe. For someone who claims to have worked on a draft of the newly proposed Undergraduate Student Government Constitution for the past 9 months, it seems that somewhere, somehow, he would have had to come across section 7B of the Financial Bylaws of the current USG Constitution. Indeed, even if there was a’ question surrounding dual participation in organizations, it takes a spoon, not a shovel, to uncover the answer. It seems a bit odd to suddenly claim ignorance until the middle of September.

    For someone who was widely known as the chief prosecutor this past spring, for someone who has so much experience in USG politics, we cannot accept a simple resignation as President of the College Republicans (CRs). There must be a heartfelt apology to the student body that goes along with his resignation.

    For the record, we believe that Shapiro’s actions, running for a position on the College Republicans after being elected as Executive Vice President, and subsequently continuing as President of the CRs after finding out about the unconstitutional nature of having both positions this past month, do not require disciplinary action. After all, Nathan Shapiro is one individual who has given so much to the USG. It would be terrible to get rid of one of the few truly competent student officials on campus. Moreover, it’s not like the USG Senate was going to take action.

    As former USG Senator and former President Pro-Tempore Robert Romano mentioned, no one really caught the conflict-of-interest problem that had arisen this past semester. It is our opinion that last semester, many of the USG senators did not understand how to go about serving effectively as student leaders. Those former senators who are currently serving as Executive Council members or those who are currently serving on the judiciary probably do not fall under this category. However, as students who went to several USG senate meetings last semester, several of us did notice only a couple of the senators doing most of the talking. Nathan Shapiro, Jonathan Hirst, Robert Romano, Matthew Maiorella, Esam Al-Shareffi, Joseph Antonelli and Alexsandra Borodkin were among the few USG senators last semester who had consistent participation at the weekly meetings (we apologize if we forgot anyone who did make significant contributions). However, many of the senators-they know who they are-just sat there for two hours. They silently waited for Amy Wisnewski’s gavel to come down around 10PM to end the weekly meeting. Of course, there was the occasional obligatory ‘Yea’ or ‘Nay.’ We understand that USG Senators actually have to attend separate committee meetings. Surely, the senators who rarely spoke had gone to these committee meetings and had something to share at some point in time with the group. And regardless of what happened in committee meetings outside of the public Senate meetings, at least, one would like to have seen some kind of ideas or policy proposals from these individuals.

    These are the people who routinely hold USG back, the people who don’t actively participate, the people who are just USG senators because they want to add an extra line to their resume. USG needs individuals who are active and reliable, not dead weight. We feel that the problem lies in the lack of student interest in USG. Fewer students want to take part in USG as elected officials; therefore, the students who do have any interest in USG have less competition for elected positions, as noted by the dearth of candidates running for position in the elections this past spring.

    And again, as noted with the case against Shapiro, students with their full vested interests in USG, active and reliable student leaders, intelligent, scrupulous individuals would have the ability to balance the power of the Shapiros of the future.

    To attract the best and brightest students of SB to the Undergraduate Student Government, those students who are competent, our Executive Council members, our Judiciary, and a handful of the current USG Senators, have to make a consistent and concerted effort to reach out to student body. Hopefully this group of students has a better average political IQ than the last. Hopefully there will be a future of USG.

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