The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Student organization set to rebuild after suspension

Coming off the heels of a suspension, Haraya, the Pan-African Students coalition, will be holding elections for a new executive board today at 4:30 p.m. in the UC commons.

According to Reggie Barnes, director of Multicultural Affairs, the student organization was deactivated briefly in March after “one of their leaders was accused of allegedly entering into an unauthorized contractual agreement to book artists for an event.”

He added that the student was removed from office and due to that incident and “in light of other issues with their leadership this year,” it was decided by Student Life and Judicial Affairs officials to suspend the group until a new executive board was selected.

“Once [Haraya has] elected a new E-board and appointed committee chairpersons, they will work with Nashia [Whittenburg, assistant director of Multicultural Affairs] and I to develop a plan to grow the organization next year,” Barnes said.
Contrary to rumors, Barnes said Haraya’s suspension had nothing to do with a personal attack on the group.

“There is no effort on the part of Student Life, any administrator or other University office to get rid of Haraya, to limit their expression of ‘black culture’ on campus or to diminish the importance of celebrating their cultural heritage,” he said.

“Student Affairs is in the business of promoting student engagement and leadership, not destroying it.”

Following the completion of a Judicial Affairs investigation, the suspension was lifted. However, if Haraya fails to comply with any directive developmental planning and transitional leadership training, they may face more serious disciplinary action.

“Both Student Life and Multicultural Affairs strongly support Haraya as they work to reestablish themselves as a voice for the students they serve,” said Barnes. “We are confident that the new leadership will work diligently to regain the respect of the St. John’s University community and to exemplify the Vincentian principles on which we are founded.”

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