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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Humble Correspondent Gets Attacked

    Dear Editor,

    Before commenting on last week’s meeting, let me first point out that my writings (obviously) are not the official opinion of the Undergraduate Student Government and that I am writing in my capacity as a private citizen, seeking to report to his fellow students on the goings on of the student government.

    Last week’s meeting was chaired by the President Pro-Tempore (PPT), Robert Romano, as the Executive Vice President was ill. The PPT did an excellent job in moving rapidly through the agenda and in keeping proper order during the meeting. The Senate approved some meaningful legislation, including a ‘Commission on Due Process Rights’ charged with investigating the University’s handling of non-academic judiciary hearings, which primarily deal with alleged violations of the University’s ‘Conduct Code.’

    The commission will report back within six weeks with their findings and recommendations. Of greater interest was the verbal assault delivered by Senator Shapiro and others on your humble correspondent, apparently angered with my critical reports on the activity of the USG Senate. I was accused of false and erroneous statements, lambasted over my comments, and criticized for reporting to the campus media my version of events.

    I hope that students will forgive me in that there is some truth to the first charge, in that I did falsely report that the budget process was not advertised properly. I reported on my impressions, after speaking to many students in clubs and organizations who seemed unaware of the surplus and their ability to apply to it, but it appears that the Senate had at least made a good-faith effort to inform students, by charging the USG Treasurer with explaining the process at the ‘Leadership Day’ event and by putting fliers in clubs’ mailboxes.

    Obviously there are still some clubs that are not aware of what is going on, but that cannot be blamed on the Senate. Other than this oversight, I stand by everything I have said and everything I will ever report to my readers. I have no motive to misreport and as much as any other student (or perhaps more) I desperately hope that our Undergraduate Student Government delivers on its promises and takes an active role in lobbying on our behalf on issues of interest, such as food quality and prices on campus, the availability of parking spaces, maintaining the campus infrastructure properly, and on a host of other issues.

    I will continue to demand, on behalf of myself and my fellow students, for our USG Senate work intelligently on issues that concern us. It is not an unreasonable request to make, given that approximately $1000 of our student activity fee funds goes into paying our student Senators every week, and we must have tangible benefits, beyond internal reforms and laws that look good on paper but confer no real gain for students.

    The University Senate, for instance, will consider a proposal on a total smoking ban on campus this Monday, October 9th, 2006, at 3:30 pm in SAC 302. Given the fury and vehemence expressed on the Senate floor, I hope those Senators take this opportunity to help defeat that proposal and secure a victory for students. While many Senators, even those who disagreed with my conclusions, chose to conduct a civil debate, it seemed as if my comments had touched a nerve with a few others, who became quite emotional and impassioned, as if they had bottled up feelings of deep anger (either for me or in general), and attacked me with great relish in the Senate.

    My fervent hope is that these Senators shall see fit to unleash even half of this energy in a constructive way, lobbying with administrators and finding creative solutions in order to deliver real results (i.e. lower food prices, higher quality food, more parking spaces, etc.) for students. Only time will tell.

    Respectfully yours,

    Esam Al-Shareffi

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