Student Government Inc. Hosts Second Meeting of Semester

Topics included potential changes to campus dining, budgets

Alexis Gaskin, Assistant News Editor

The second general assembly meeting of the semester for Student Government Inc. was held on Monday, Feb. 11 in the Marillac Auditorium.

The meeting featured conversations and committee reports on potential dining plans for the Queens Campus, declaration of the important dates for SGI elections and student issues with Residence Life.

There was no report from President Atem Tazi, but a lengthy report from Vice President Christopher Stephens which received a lot of comments and questions from SGI members and representatives.

In Stephens’ report, he discussed the importance of the continuation of the new Power to Organize regulations that were voted on last year, initiating the first large change in the SGI constitution.

What caused the greatest disturbance during the meeting was the aftermath of Stephens’ meeting with dining services.

He reiterated that during his meeting with dining services, representatives there stressed concern that Chartwells, the University’s catering company, is losing money due to students taking forks, plates, cups and other utensils. Chartwells has put up signs in Montgoris reminding students to not take silverware and cups out of the dining hall. But according to Stephens, this has not stopped students from doing it.

In another topic that was tabled later for further discussion, Chartwells discussed the possibilities of keeping Montgoris open until 1 am everyday, which would replace the Red Storm Diner on campus. Stephens discussed this and said, “Basically, they gave the idea of keeping [Monty’s] open later and getting rid of the diner all together.”

Many members that were present were not keen on this, based on the shoutings and grumbles by the students who were worried about the diner workers losing their jobs and part of St. John’s culture being lost. Stephens discussed that he would take the feedback to his next meeting and discuss these concerns with Chartwells.

Reports from Junior and Sophomore Senators Johnny Wiley and Hannah Sesay discussed the possibilities of bringing Diversity Peer Education on campus for organization members and having Public Safety Officers attend the training.

Sesay spoke on this and said, “If we had at least a representative from Public Safety that people got along with to go to training to establish the connection between students and Public safety.”

Committee reports were given by the Academic Affairs, Budget, Elections, Philanthropy, Service, Student Services and Sustainability committee.

The Academic Affairs Committee is working on a potential event that will help students bridge the gap from their majors to potential jobs.

The Budget Committee presented budgets for the organization’s plan to hold events that were voted on. All events were approved, including the Jewish Students Association Passover event on April 16 for $1,175 and the Italian Culture Society’s Carnavale for just over $1,200.

In collaboration with Treasurer Henry Stitzel, the Budget Committee decided that any organizations that request funds for an event that are more than $2,000 will be split in half between SGI and the Campus Activities Board.

The Philanthropy Committee is pushing efforts toward Relay for Life.

Meanwhile, the Research and Development committee is working on a survey to discuss the sexual harassment incidents that allegedly occurred on campus with discussions of working with the NAACP, who released a survey a couple of weeks after the #SuvivngSJU uproar on social media.

The Service Committee addressed the Hunger Banquet that will be held on April 9 at 7 p.m. in DAC 128.

Student Services spoke of the Residence Life issues that students have been having on campus.

Brown water coming from faucets and showers, along with the power outages and pipe leaks in the Townhouses were also talked about.

Committee Chair Torrent Cannon said that Facilities called the brown water a “NYC issue, not a St. John’s one.”

The Sustainability Committee also urged members and organizations to utilize the sustainable cutlery that is available in the SGI office and announced that compost bins will soon be available on campus.

Discussed with most importance was the tentative schedule for the SGI Elections. The dates are as follows:

  • Feb. 25/26: Mandatory Information Sessions
  • March 4: Application Launches
  • March 13/14: Application Deadline
  • March 18/19: Constitution Test (not confirmed)
  • March 25: Ticket Presentations to Floor
  • March 28: Debate