By Alexandria JezinaStaff Writer
The Student Affairs Committee, a component of the University Senate with four elected undergraduates and one elected graduate member, met on Nov. 30 for their monthly meeting. Approximately 15 students from different groups on campus were present to discuss what needs to be improved on campus.
Discussion was set before the meeting took place by the agenda of chairman Kenny Cordero- Rubinos, who is also the only elected graduate senator of the SAC, but other ideas and suggestions were also welcome at the meeting.
As the present students gathered around with free pizza and cookies provided by Lackmann, Cordero-Rubinos started the discussion by reporting on what took place at the last U Senate meeting on Nov. 12, and explained the future implementation of a smoking ban on the South Side of campus. Though The Hofstra Chronicle reported the smoking ban as passing on Nov. 15, little to no other information about the ban has been provided to students by the University. The ban will come into effect beginning Spring 2013.
Students at the meeting appeared surprised by news of the ban and, although none admitted to smoking, many were concerned with the entitlements of students who currently smoke. SGA President Ron Singh, who attended the meeting with VP Andrea Standrowicz, said, “I don’t know how the student body will receive the smoking ban. Is there a means through procedure where they could express their dissatisfaction, if the reception isn’t kind?”
Cordero-Rubinos responded by describing the shared governance of the University Senate between students and faculty, and how the proposal passed against the vote of student senators at the Oct. 8 U Senate meeting. Cordero-Rubinos also asked Singh to join him in a meeting with Planning and Budget Committee Chair Liz Venuti to discuss future implementation of the ban and thereby represent Hofstra students.
According to Singh, an SGA poll on smoking conducted last year indicated a majority of non-smokers. Non-smokers worried about infringing on the rights of smokers by passing any smoking ban.
After an opinionated discussion about smoking on campus, talks turned to the issue of graduate student fees on campus. Currently graduate students do not pay the fee undergraduates do to attend such events as Fall Fest and other “free” events put on by student clubs such as Entertainment Unlimited, Hofstra Concerts, and many more. The majority of this 75 dollar fee goes to SGA, which allocates these funds to SGA-approved undergraduate student clubs, leaving any graduate student clubs to raise their own funds for utilization. Under the current constitution for SGA, graduate students cannot participate in any undergraduate club such as club sports even if they wished to pay the fee because there is “no way of overseeing the money,” according to representatives of SGA.
As there has not been an active graduate student government association in years, graduate students are stuck in an over-complicated situation. Further discussion on this situation will most likely be continued at the next Student Assembly Meeting. Not all tasks on the agenda of the meeting were discussed due to time and will be continued at the next meeting being planned for the first month of next semester.