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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Campus news briefing: club decision divides senate

Stony Brook to undergo re-accreditation process

During the Undergraduate Student Government’s Senate meeting last Thursday, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Undergraduate Colleges Dr. Charles Robbins gave a presentation on the Middle States Accreditation process.

Robbins is leading a team of 80 students, faculty and staff in drafting a new educational plan for the university. Every 10 years, all higher-education institutions must undergo a re-accreditation process in order to ensure that college students receive the best possible education at their given institution.

“This document should shape education at Stony Brook University for at least the next 10 years,” Robbins said.

A draft of the new proposal will be available online by next summer so that members of the SBU community can offer suggestions and revisions, according to Robbins. One of the goals of the reaccreditation process is to “demonstrate what we do well as a university,” as well as work on ways to improve as a whole, Robbins said.

The final document will be sent to the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools by January 2014.

Senator Guerriero present the Equal Representation Act, which will help balance the number of senators elected from each UGC.
Senator Guerriero present the Equal Representation Act, which will help balance the number of senators elected from each UGC.

USG Senate Equal Representation Act Approved 

Senator Miranda Guerriero presented the new USG Equal Representation Act, which seeks in address concerns regarding the proper number of student representatives to the senate from each undergraduate college. The revised act will help establish clearer language in the USG constitution in order to specify how many student representatives from each undergraduate college can be elected to the senate.

According to Guerriero, the act will allow for a number of senators from each UGC to be elected according to their proportion of students. The voting process for electing senators will not be affected, although the number of seats given to each college will be.

Controversial Club Approval Decision Divides Senate

In a controversial move, the Senate denied club approval to one student charity club while voting to recognize another moments later. Student club Poverty Has Tears was denied USG club recognition by a vote of 7-9-1 on the ground that its mission was too similar to many other charitable organizations on campus, such as Oxfam America. The Senate felt that it would be a wiser decision for Poverty Has Tears to combine its membership with another club on campus to preserve the limited amount of club funding for more unique student organizations.

However, Rise Again Haiti Inc., another charitable student club dedicated to providing relief to the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, was officially recognized by the senate with a vote of 9-5-2. This decision came after another heated debate as to whether or not Rise Again Haiti’s mission was too similar to that of the Haitian Student Organization.

“I don’t think it was fair what happened to Poverty Has Tears,” said Vladimir Piersaint, of Rise Again Haiti, Inc. Piersaint said that he felt the senate did not have enough background knowledge about his club to be able to distinguish Rise Again Haiti from the Haitian Students Organization.

Poverty Has Tears Vice President Dondre Thompson said that he felt the Senate already had made its decision about his club before he was able to speak. Thompson said that he and other club members will have to continue paying for club expenses out of pocket in order to continue operating.

Although Rise Again Haiti received club recognition from the Senate, it will still have to wait two academic years before being able to receive full club funding from USG.

“I think there was definitely some votes that contradicted themselves from senators,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Derek Cope, who compared the generalizations made about Rise Again Haiti and Poverty Has Tears to the kind of similarities one might make about crew and sailing clubs. “I personally would want to see both [clubs] get [acknowledged].”

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