By Ben Suazo, Assistant News Editor
President Jimmy Wells gave a bold challenge to SGA on Tuesday. He suggested to senators that they sit down in the Student Center, if only for an hour, and tune in to what students really think is right and wrong with The University.
Wells' report was a response to two recent disappointments from SGA: there was the cancellation of Hofstra's "Teach Me How to Dougie" program after sufficient student interest was not generated, followed by the refusal of several senators to support an atrium table, even though their assigned office hours would still have been counted. Although Wells himself could not attend Tuesday's meeting to read the report, Associate Director and Advisor Robyn Kaplan (OSLA) conveyed the president's words and reactions well enough to move members of the senate to express their approval.
"I have to believe for myself that there are 60 people around this table who are good at heart," said Jordan Baer, Appropriations Chairman and head of the Elections Commission. "Sometimes we like to call attention to the negativity…[instead] say good job to each other, say thank you!"
Kaplan passed out index cards after she finished reading the president's words, and asked senators to anonymously address why they joined SGA, what they like about it, what they would like to change and how they believe general students perceive their organization.
"For those of you that are frustrated, my response is, ‘good,'" Kaplan told senators. Kaplan said senators had already approached her, expressing their displeasure with SGA, but did not specify what they wanted to change. "It's not gonna change in one day, it's not gonna change in one semester, but you have to start to try and support each other."
Another controversy at Tuesday's meeting revolved around Rent-A-Spot, a guaranteed parking program created this year through the Hofstra Entrepreneurship Department with funds from Capital One Bank. Spirit Chairwoman Victoria Vullo introduced a resolution, and also requested SGA's support. Her plan is to see if the reserved spots— 10 near Breslin and 13 by C.V. Starr— can be reduced to three in each lot. Vullo cited last week's article in The Chronicle— in which students complained about Rent-A-Spot— as evidence of student support for her resolution. When asked, she said she had not yet spoken directly to the program's managers.
Senator and commuter Alice Rodrigues said she could usually find a place to park in Breslin, but now those spaces have disappeared, and finding alternative parking has caused her to be late to class. "I've never seen more than three cars in the spots and it's just a waste of space," Rodrigues said in support of Vullo's resolution.
Some senators opposed the resolution, believing that Vusso should have spoken directly with students and Rent-A-Spot's management before requesting SGA's support. "If I were the person who programmed Rent-A-Spot, I would want someone to consult me," said Victoria Rametta, "and to work on some way to remedy the problem."
The 61st and final senate seat was filled at Tuesday's meeting. According to Baer, SGA's Senate is projected to have 49 seats next semester, based on declining student acceptance by Hofstra.