Monday’s Student Congress meeting saw both the resignation of the Student Association (SA) president, an appointment of a new executive vice president (EVP) and the introduction of new legislation.
After roll call, the meeting moved to Executive Board reports, which began with SA President Dillon Schade formally announcing he would be stepping down from his position following the discovery of racially charged language on his Tinder profile and the ensuing aftermath.
Providing a timeline of the series of events, Schade said his resignation was for the best.
“I want to thank everyone for an incredible four years here at Binghamton University,” he said. “Certainly this has been a tough time for for myself and my family, I am moving forward to graduate and move forward from this experience.”
Executive Vice President (EVP) Zachary Vigliani, who will be taking on the role as president for the remainder of the semester, then announced the appointment of EVP aide Naomi Barnett as interim EVP until a special election is held on March 15.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Amanda Baker discussed progress on a course replacement policy. She also later proposed new legislation that would require professors to submit a certain percentage of students’ grades by the withdrawal deadline, as well as legislation that would require professors to give a 10-day notice regarding changes in the syllabi.
Vice President for Multicultural Affairs Ruslan Klafehn discussed his continuation of an off-campus safety committee begun by Schade and urged students to get involved.
“It’s getting a little bit ridiculous because these are important issues, and the groups I’ve been reaching out to aren’t responding,” Klafehn said.
In regard to both the upcoming special elections and those concerning the 2016-17 E-Board, Planning, Research and Election Committee Chair Julie Kline announced the upcoming voting dates.
She also reminded Student Congress of the upcoming referendum on the student activity fee, which determines whether the $99-per-semester fee is required or not. The fee funds all SA-chartered organizations, Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) buses and Harpur’s Ferry.
“We want to make sure as Congress, as students, that it remains mandatory,” Kline said.
Student Life and Academics Chair Brendan Cunningham gave updates on an off-campus alert system, saying that the current method being proposed, an app called Nixle, did not seem feasible.
“It couldn’t be realistic for it to be used as an alert system,” Cunningham said. “When officers report to a crime scene, it’s not their first priority to update an alert system.”
Other new legislation approved to be voted on during the next congress session included a bill supporting the union that represents Sodexo workers at BU during their contract negotiations with the international company.
“Sodexo is avoiding proper negotiations at every turn,” said union representative Bryan Staul. “And the reason why I’m here tonight is because we need the support of the students.”
Amendments to the constitution, which included raising the amount of the student activity fee that goes toward Harpur’s Ferry, were also approved to be voted on during the next meeting. The increased funding would go toward buying a third ambulance.
“This is getting ready to adjust to the student body growing,” said SA executive director David Hagerbaumer. “There will be more students Downtown. That justifies that purpose. If we don’t start adjusting now, we won’t be able to get that third ambulance.”