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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Pop-Tart cat incident unveils lack of student representation

When Hurricane Sandy derailed Halloween festivities for most Long Islanders, juniors Dylan Duprez and Wesley Macker had to figure out what to do with the Nyan Cat costume they had spent hours crafting. Come April Fool’s Day this year, the effigy of the Internet-famous Pop-Tart cat found its purpose.

The two, accompanied by a few other friends, ran around campus for their own merriment, and, as Macker put it, “We just wanted to be silly.”

Duprez added that, “All it was meant for was fun and goofiness, it had nothing to do with anything else.

The group found its exploits on the front page of Reddit come Wednesday night, garnering more than 2,000 upvotes.

However, after Macker made an appearance at the ‘Seawolves for Change’ parade with the costume earlier that day, Undergraduate Student President Anna Lubitz felt it appropriate to take credit for the accomplishment on Facebook, saying, “Reddit front page: Seawolves for Change made it!”

She also added a shameless plug, urging students to vote for her “awesome” party.

Macker explained that he was invited to attend the parade by a friend, but was not informed of the parade’s political affiliation.

“I did not know beforehand,” he said.

Macker said he was irritated that Lubitz made the claim, considering that the photo that made the front page is specifically from the April Fool’s adventure.

“I know nothing about their party, I don’t support any political party for this kind of stuff, I just wanted to be in my Nyan Cat costume,” Macker said. “It wasn’t her work, it wasn’t her in the costume, she didn’t create that.”

At this point, USG has turned into a popularity contest. Across the board, there is no depth to the platforms of the candidates. At the end of the day, we are voting on who is the least bad. Right now, Lubitz is the worst. It doesn’t seem kind to be this blunt, but when a USG president causes widespread hatred within the student body, she’s going to find herself on the bottom of the list.

This election has shown us many flaws in what USG stands for and the candidates themselves. Just looking at Lubitz’s connections to the school, it is clear why she constantly chooses the side of administration over the students. Currently, her mother is an administrative assistant for President Stanley, and Lubitz grandfathered her current boyfriend, Zach Guarnero, into USG as the Student Programming Agency (SPA) Director.

With the close ties she has to the higher administration, one would expect her to use that to foster a closer relationship between the students and administration. Instead, she focuses on herself and the administration. To the administration, Lubitz seems like the poster student for the campus, but is she really? How representative is she of the student body?

Her closeness to administration is what separates her from the student body. Students at SBU feel connected over the lack of advising, support, and transparency that comes from higher administration. The president who represents the student body shouldn’t be on ‘Big Brother’s’ side. We need a president who can actually voice concerns and annoyance in the necessary situations.

Though people criticize fellow presidential contender Adil Hussain’s platform and campaign style, it is refreshing to see a candidate who is more concerned about standing up for students rather than self-promoting for a better resume. Out of the three candidates, he is clearly the administration’s least favorite, but isn’t that the point? The position of USG president should be about representing student interests to administration, not vice versa.

Just the example of what happened with the students at the parade reflects on the lack of student representation by Lubitz. Rather than giving the credit to those who deserved it, she felt it was better for her and ‘Seawolves for Change’ to try tacking on another line to her resume. The lack of leadership and support of students, however, has left Macker and Duprez to come up with their own response.

“I’m going to make a political party, ‘Rainbow Cats Against 14-oz. Chocolate Milks,’” Macker joked, complaining about the decrease in size of the Nesquik sold on campus without a corresponding decrease in price.

“I would join that party,” Duprez added.

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  • A

    A Concerned StudentApr 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Upon reading this I immediately panicked. HOW COULD THEY CHANGE THE SIZE OF NESQUIK??? I immediately rushed from my computer to the SAC dining area to see this for myself and sure enough, they were smaller. SIGNIFICANTLY SMALLER. Needless to say, I am not pleased.

  • B

    Big Brother Is Reading.Apr 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    As an avid reader of the Statesman, I am disappointed with this article. The Statesman’s motto says that the Statesman has been “Informing Stony Brook University for more than 50 Years.” If I were to read this piece blind, I would think Lubitz is a power-grabbing, undeserving punk who got into her position because of her family ties. She has done nothing legally wrong, and you attacked her as if she had been Richard Nixon. You have actively misinformed me, Statesman.

    I believe this is the work of someone who was personally upset over the (mis)use of the Nyan-Cat by Lubitz and used this as a springboard for a (fairly personal) attack on her. This opinion came from within the editorial board, and as such, frightens me about the nature of discourse at this university, if this is how our student leaders frame the issue.

    I believe that it is someone with close ties to members of the After-Party, specifically Sophia Marsh, had influence over the position of the editorial. If so, this, I believe, would be questionable journalistically. I believe that this article is replete with harsh accusations, released in such a manner (right on the day of the election) that makes me question the purity of the article.

    There are several points in this article that are misleading, or flat out wrong.

    Here are some notable instances:

    (1) The authors [sic] don’t back up several broad accusations made in the article.

    (1a.) One instance is the line that states that Lubitz has engendered “widespread hatred within the student body”.

    However, the article provides no statistics, no multiple sources agreeing with this sentiment, nothing. You cannot make a broad assertion based on, well, nothing. (At least in the article.) Even if you REALLY REALLY believe it. Prove it.

    (1b.) In regards to the line: “…grandfathered her current boyfriend, Zach Guarnero, into USG as the Student Programming Agency (SPA) Director.”

    To grandfather in someone, would mean to “exempt (someone or something) from a new law or regulation.” Beyond bad English, it’s a potentially libelous statement, because you are implying that he received a position with different terms than his predecessor, which wouldn’t be right, and I’m fairly certain didn’t happen. However, if this is what you’re saying, say it clear as to void confusion.

    (1c.) In regard to the line: “…it is clear why she constantly chooses the side of administration over the students.”

    Forget the ‘it’s clear why’ phrase, which is a silly thing to say, you should prove all your assertions in an OPINION/EDITORIAL piece. You did not even show any specific examples of when she did so, or show anytime where she placed the administration’s needs over those of the students.

    (2.) There is little proof in the article that Lubitz’s connection to administration has altered any of her policies at USG. This is one of the big ideas of the article, and it seems like a ad-hoc attack based on her family relations. To bring someone’s family into it as well, is also an unfair and hurtful attack on an individual portrayed in this light.

    (3.) In regards to: “The president who represents the student body shouldn’t be on ‘Big Brother’s’ side.”

    Just to point out the hypocrisy of the article, I would like to say that, in 1984, Big Brother tries to influence control over all opinion relating to the “Party,” deadening language as to promote only narrow ideas. By not providing any semblance of alternative thought, in my opinion, you are doing the same here.

    Wasn’t it the Statesman that released a big picture of Sophia Marsh on their front page in the shiny, yellow safety suit with a headline in the next panel: “SBU gets serious about student safety on campus,” a few weeks after Briana Bifone got run over by a university cop car?