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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Inside the USG Reform Party

    In a recent meeting with Reform Party heads Alexsandra Borodkin and Robert Romano, the Statesman got a look into the new party and what its aims for SBU are.

    Perhaps what makes the Reform Party so unique is that it continues to operate annually. While clubs have survived for years on the bread and butter of USG funding, the parties and coalitions that form within the USG have traditionally mobilized during times of elections and then disintegrated. But the Reform Party holds regular meetings and forms a party platform that most members try to adhere to; in this sense the Reform Party is a mobilizing force behind the direction of the USG year round.

    It would be accurate to say that the Reform Party evolved out of the Stony Brook College Republicans. Some members of their alliance are involved in Project Enduring Freedom and the Rifle Club. When asked to define the party’s purpose, Romano, the party vice chair, said that it would be inaccurate to say that they are just Republicans in the USG. The Reform Party deals with issues pertaining to SBU only, and tries to include members who have similar objectives for the school, regardless of what national political leaning they may have.’ Borodkin, the party chair, said, ‘It’s not like we are giving litmus tests to aspiring members.’ What we do require for memberships is similar aims for Stony Brook.’

    The Reform Party’s goals for this semester are numerous and cover many areas of student interest. One of the biggest changes they would like to see is a restructuring of the meal plan to allow students the option of off campus dining.

    If they succeed, students would be able to use their meal card similar to the way one uses their laundry card on campus. One could put points on it for off campus dining, like a debit card for eating.

    Romano expressed his personal opinion on the mandatory meal plan and health insurance at SBU, saying, ‘I think it’s just a way for the school to make money. The real bonus under this system would be if students could secure a part of their financial aid towards the off campus dining and therefore not have it come out of their pockets.’

    Another interest the Reform Party has is the mandatory student activity fee. In keeping with their platform of fiscal responsibility, the Reform Party would like to set a precedent in lowering the current student activity fee.

    As of now, each student pays $188.50 a year for the student activity fee. The Reform Party would like to see a reduction of less than two dollars. The reasoning, as Romano put it, is that USG’s distribution of funds to clubs is grossly overestimated.

    Last year they had a surplus of $291,000 that got carried over into the next year’s budget. Nevertheless, Romano admitted there is an advantage to having some rollover – it makes budgeting easier for the following year. The gripe for the Reform Party is the enormous amount.

    The Reform Party also wants to instill an online blog booking account for clubs and organizations to make it easier to register rooms. Other positions that the party stands on are anti-corruption, creating better drainage and handicap access, and lowering the requirements for USG impeachment.

    Another issue at hand is advocacy and representation for students being charged with academic crimes like plagiarizing. According to their vision, there’ should be a public prosecutor and public defender for the student.’ Student safety is also an issue.’ Romano and Borodkin suggest’ more blue lights, better implementation of current programs, and a more active role for RSP, and perhaps having more members of our own police department walk a beat from time to time.

    Amy Wisnoski, another member of the USG and a former member of the ‘defunct’ Success Party, said, ‘The Reform Party is a very well-organized group of students, run by two or three of the most active USG officials. They hold party meetings and make party decisions instead of individual decisions, but in practice – and I’ve witnessed this as the Senate Chair – dissenting opinions within the party do exist, and they do not always vote as a bloc. The party system, as it stands right now, doesn’t really make much a difference to USG – there is only one party! People vote in blocs because of friendships, party alliances and assorted other reasons.’

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