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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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Letter to the Editor: When they came for the Regatta

Dear Fellow Students,
My name is Aaron Ferri and I am writing to inform you about a terrible injustice that is taking place on campus. The Roth Pond Regatta, one of our most beloved campus traditions, has recently been stolen by our infamous USG. This is only part of a recent string of student government led seizures that have taken place this past year. I am writing to you all not only as the former President of the Regatta, but also as a concerned member of our community.

Although many of you may not know this, until this year Roth Regatta was an event run by the Roth Pond Regatta Club, a recognized student organization. However, last year saw the passage of the Office of Student Life, Programming and Activities Act. This controversial piece of legislation took many of our treasured campus traditions, including the Regatta, and put them in the hands of SPA, a newly established branch of USG. Those of us who had poured countless hours into establishing these traditions were never consulted or even formally notified; we were simply informed the following year that a club that we were extremely passionate about now belonged to USG and that we had no say in the matter.

The justification for this take over was that USG would be able to open the planning of the event up to a larger segment of the student body and that the planning would happen more efficiently if handled by a central authority. As to date, with the event less than a week away, neither of these two goals have been met.

At least as a club, membership was open to the entire campus community, and anyone who has attended a Regatta knows that it was a well run event—which brings up the age old adage, “don’t fix what isn’t broken.” Although you may disagree about whether USG is the proper entity to run the Regatta, I feel the more important question is this: what right does USG have to take over a student run club? Yes, in a democratic system, people must capitulate to the will of our duly elected representatives, but is there to be no limit on how far government can go?  At what point does democracy lead to a tyranny of the majority? Shouldn’t a democracy have some checks on what it can and can’t do? In our case, we aren’t even talking about a majority, but rather a select group of overzealous students who take their jobs way too seriously. I say “jobs” because the Office of Student Life, Programming and Activities Act allows the SPA to pay themselves for stealing our traditions.

In all fairness, I am generalizing a bit, and I know several USG members who have done a terrific job of establishing a sense of community on campus. USG is simply piggybacking on the years of groundwork laid by others, and I think it is time that we as students take a stand. USG is meant to look out for us, not dictate to us what we can and can’t do as students. I have filed a brief against USG, but am hoping for the support of the student body as well.

Students of Stony Brook beware, for first they came for the Regatta….

Sincerely,
Aaron Ferri

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  • A

    A.J.May 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Aaron said “Those of us who had poured countless hours into establishing these traditions were never consulted or even formally notified; we were simply informed the following year that a club that we were extremely passionate about now belonged to USG and that we had no say in the matter.”

    Seems to me that USG is following administration’s lead because this is exactly the same way the Southampton students found out that their whole college was being taken away from them & they were being forced to move west. They were then told that their activity fees (worth tens of thousands of dollars) were being transferred too & would be available for them to start up their southampton clubs on main campus. But when they tried to start up their own new club related to their interests, they were denied.

    Must be nice for some to sit there with all that power.

    Reply
  • I

    IamStony HearmeroarMay 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Students fund the clubs, not USG. USG is given the ability to regulate the funds. Big difference. LMAO on contacting any of the senators cause there isnt a list of them posted anywhere, lol on Executive-Council too. USG is a joke.
    ———————————————————————
    USG as technologically high tech it is with its Allocate system is yet to learn how to use email to notify clubs of legislation changes.
    ———————————————————————-
    Minutes are not posted any more, no one outside of USG knows what any of the acts passed are cause they are not posted. Funnier thing is that current USG members dont know what some of the acts were for. it is my personal firm belief that if those who run for USG werent allowed to vote for these student elections, USG would not exist.
    ———————————————————————-
    I would rather have the University Senate take over and regulate all funded student activities then a overly bureaucratic self-serving USG.
    0——————————————————————–
    – I AM STONY!! Hear me Roar

    Reply
  • I

    IamStony HearmeroarMay 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Students fund the clubs, not USG. USG is given the ability to regulate the funds. Big difference. LMAO on contacting any of the senators cause there isnt a list of them posted anywhere, lol on Executive-Council too. USG is a joke.

    USG as technologically high tech it is with its Allocate system is yet to learn how to use email to notify clubs of legislation changes.

    Minutes are not posted any more, no one outside of USG knows what any of the acts passed are cause they are not posted. Funnier thing is that current USG members dont know what some of the acts were for. it is my personal firm belief that if those who run for USG werent allowed to vote for these student elections, USG would not exist.

    I would rather have the University Senate take over and regulate all funded student activities then a overly bureaucratic self-serving USG.

    – I AM STONY!! Hear me Roar

    Reply
  • A

    Ari DavanelosMay 4, 2011 at 7:27 am

    You’re a royal douche-bag up there, aren’t you Nana too-scared-to-use-a-real-name. Why are you (and I know you’re a USG senator…or probably a former USG senator…) so hell bent on controlling every possible happening on campus?

    Students should be allowed to form clubs and organize events on their own. Thats how a diverse and eventful on-campus scene/culture TRULY forms. If discrepancies or, god-forbid, disorganization is found within clubs vis a vis on-campus activities, USG should aid the clubs in fixing themselves and eventually getting events off the ground.

    Why DOES it make sense for SPA to run the Regatta? You brought it up oh so matter-of-factly yet didn’t explain yourself at all.

    Oh wait, apparently you did. Because “USG funds it”. Really now? Should USG go ahead and abolish any and all student clubs and organizations that get even a single dollar from USG?

    Yes, lets take away any and all rights for students to unite under common interests and/or ideals and be able to promote their cause through events. Instead, lets give control of every student ANYTHING to 10 people. Because 10 people do reflect the interests of almost 17,000 undergrads. Really f’n smart, you’re a democratic genius.

    Again, the beautiful thing about student clubs is the fact that different minds are in charge of throwing different events. This gives students a wide variety of options should they want to participate in an on-campus event. And LO AND F’N BEHOLD all these things tend to happen organically, which is what makes any campus fun, organic growth.

    And you know what, if a student or group of students is unsatisfied with their current options, they can get together and form their own club! Holy Shitsnacks BATMAN! But oh no, USG is anti-club and anti-student. You guys would rather retain the elitism of USG. You would deny new clubs from forming, take over existing clubs, or cut the budget until you’ve effectively neutered clubs, and then probably proceed to take over. USG should be promoting students to participate actively in the process, be it a display willingness to approve new clubs or informing them to join the existing clubs they have issues with to make a change for themselves.

    Promote a democratic process, not a fascist one.

    Reply
  • N

    Nananana BatmanMay 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Watch out, I hear Strawberry Fest is next -rolls eyes-

    Yes, USG is running the Regatta this year. It makes sense that its part of the SPA. Why does USG have the right to run the Regatta? USG funds it. It was more appropriate for it to be under the SPA. I don’t see why you bring this claim up a couple of days before the Regatta when you probably knew about this well in advance. It’s not like this act was passed last week.

    Did you try to contact any of the legislators (Senators) in the USG? Any Executive-Council members? President Graham?

    Reply