By Nico MachlittSTAFF WRITER
Nonsense started off the fall semester with a lively attitude, as freshmen quickly joined the team and gave the humor magazine fresh perspectives. But, what held the magazine back were the club’s past mistakes.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, Nonsense Magazine was called into a second hearing with the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Rules Committee regarding the magazine’s club office space. But, because Nonsense was under probation and broke those policies, SGA revoked their rights to have an office space.
The issues between Nonsense and SGA began last fall. Nonsense violated of a number of SGA policies such as possession of alcohol, a refrigerator, an air mattress, pornography, a coffee maker, an empty beer box and writing on the walls.
“We came back this [spring] semester excited, we got our office, we are going to change this and that, and we’re not just offending people for no reason or causing trouble for no reason,” said Ana Davis, editor-in-chief of Nonsense.
When the spring semester started, SGA contacted Nonsense many times but said they had received little communication back from Nonsense regarding their next hearing. According to SGA, there was not an official date to meet, and the refrigerator and pornography were still present in Nonsense’s office. This violated two terms of the club’s probation. It had been previously explained to Nonsense that if the club violated its probation, members would lose their office space.
Lawrence Alexander, the Office of Student Leadership’s advisor to SGA, noted that Nonsense was presented with its probationary status, during a previous fall hearing. Both SGA and Nonsense exhibited positive “professionalism and decorum.”
“At that hearing, Nonsense agreed to the terms of probation and at that time, was allowed to remain in their office space,” Alexander said.
Nonsense fully owned up to all the rules they had broken last fall and wanted to work with SGA, Nonsense members said. The fall hearing committee spoke with the members of Nonsense and decided to give Nonsense a second chance to let them keep their office space. But the magazine was put on probation.
SGA presented a list of terms that the club needed to follow for in order to stay in their office. Some of the terms included that Nonsense would meet with an SGA member to discuss their policies: random office checks would happen for the first six weeks of the spring semester and all contraband needed to be removed from the office by the end of the fall 2013 semester.
“Since that time, SGA has made several attempts to contact Nonsense regarding continued violations in their office space, as well as other issues pursuant to their probationary status. Nonsense did not respond to numerous communications that were sent,” Alexander said.
During last Thursday’s hearing, fifteen members of Nonsense came to defend their office space, where they spoke and answered questions for half an hour.
“We came out of the meeting telling them we wanted to mend any sort of bad blood with them and the history of SGA and Nonsense,” said Davis. “We need them to help us so that we can help them.”
SGA asked many questions regarding the lack of communication, not only between SGA and Nonsense, but within the club itself.
“I know that we’ve always tried … for a relationship with them but there [have] always been some tensions,” said Alyssa Legnetti, SGA Rules Chair. “This year, we really tried to move in the right direction — that’s why we had the hearing and wanted to talk to them. We were going to let them explain themselves.”
However, communication remained difficult between the two organizations.
“The day after the emails all happened, I got in a car accident. I work 40 hours a week and am a full-time student, and it was all on my shoulders,” Davis said. “This office means so much to me and this club means so much to me. It is the only reason I stayed at Hofstra.”
During the hearing on Feb. 20, SGA questioned whether Nonsense even needed an office space because of its new online presence and suggested working in the library to create its publication.
However, Nonsense members felt that those ideas clearly would not work. According to club members, an office space is necessary because just like any publication, ideas need to be discussed out loud, meetings need to be held, story ideas need to be shared.
After much deliberation, SGA decided to remove Nonsense from their office space.
Nonsense Magazine has been a part of the Hofstra community since 1983. The magazine has historically caused controversy with many students and staff, such as Hillel and Thursday Night Live. These disputes had threatened Nonsense to be shut down.
“Nonsense’s whole thing was to be defiant of organizations like SGA and everyone else, but I can honestly tell you that this is the most excited and progressive group of nonsense members I have ever seen,” said Matthew Matusiak, Nonsense member since fall 2009.
One of the more recent controversies was with SGA moved them to a smaller office space. In their November 2012 issue a photo was printed of the Nonsense members giving the middle finger with the words, “Thanks, SGA! Is this what you mean by cozy?”
Although Nonsense lost its office space, Davis and the rest of Nonsense’s members do not see their lost office space as the end of the club and magazine.
“We don’t have anything left to lose. We are trying to better ourselves because of this,” said Heather Levinsky, the freshman Nonsense art director.
Currently, Nonsense is created in houses and other locations where a few members can meet. Nonsense will be applying for office space next semester and hopes to get it. For now, they will be working wherever they can.
Even with all of the obstacles Nonsense has faced, the future of the magazine looks promising, and they want to try to reach more students, said sophomore Samantha Senicola.
“This club isn’t just about us. We want it to be for everyone, a place where everyone belongs,” said Senicola.