At Halloween Meeting, Assembly Looks at Constitution, Commencement

by Taylor Brethauer, Editor-in-Chief

The recent assembly meeting for Student Government turned into an open forum for topics of discussion such as changes within the organization’s constitution, the elimination of curriculum programs and the issue of commencement tickets.

Constitutional Amendments

The first discussion was about amendments being revised and added to the Student Government constitution, as suggested by the Cooper administration, in order to have all assembly members participating and helping out with events.

“We modeled [the amendment] off of what was already in [the constitution] for the class vice presidents,” said Jaycie Cooper, student body president.

The amendment would require all class vice presidents and school representatives to hold membership on one committee, along with participation in at least two events during the semester.

“The biggest thing is having the required participation for events for example putting up the flyers would constitute participation, and the idea of holding a forum to hear your constituents and that should happen once a semester with the help of your co-vice president,” said Cooper.

Liam Moran, commuter representative, asked if the impeachment process would be put into play for failure of meeting the requirements of the positions.

“It wouldn’t be a suspension of power. As of right now no one is in bad standing necessarily. The bigger issue is the attendance,” said Cooper.

After the discussion, the vote to approve the amendment was tabled until the next assembly meeting.

Then, Moran spoke about the idea of holding a “constitutional convention,” proposing to revise and reorganize the constitution.

He pointed out multiple misnumbered and misnamed sections and articles, along with multiple positions and committees from previous administrations that are now defunct.

After questioning and discussion from the executive board members, it was decided that a constitutional convention would take place in the coming weeks, to be comprised of members of the assembly.

Cooper also told Moran that she would want this completed before the spring semester and the discussion was tabled until the next meeting as well.

Educational Affairs Committee Concerns

The next topic of discussion was the decision to cut both the global business major and all independent studies. Vice president of academic affairs, Kerry Cavanagh, addressed these two problems.

“I know there was talk around global business … I’m still trying to figure out details about that. If there’s anyone who knows students affected by it, tell them to talk to me or to bring their stories to me and I’ll bring that to the next educational affairs committee meeting,” said Cavanagh. “Also, a student had said that they were in advising and found out that independent studies were a thing of the past. I’ve already e-mailed [provost William Clyde] and waiting for a response about that.”

She encouraged students to talk to her about any concerns towards either of these two problems and she would bring them up at her next committee meeting. She mentioned that neither of these decisions were addressed previously and students were not notified beforehand.

Commencement Concerns

The discussions continued at the end of the meeting with the growing concern over Commencement tickets for the Class of 2019.

Graduating students had been voicing their upset about the informal announcement that only two tickets would be given to students for Draddy Gymnasium, instead of the usual three tickets in the past. There was no direct information sent out, only a post on the college’s website. Students would also receive tickets for “screening locations” around campus.

Bailey Shaw, School of Liberal Arts representative, has been meeting with members of the administration including John Bennett, director of student development, and Richard Satterlee, vice president of student life. She also drew up a proposal about other venues.

She also mentioned what nearby colleges use for their graduations: Pace University has used Radio City Music Hall, New York University has used Yankee Stadium and Iona College has used the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

“The school has known that the class of 2019 was a larger-sized class by about 200 students. So that is not on the student’s end to push event services to find a bigger venue. That should have been something that was talked about when we matriculated,” said Cooper.

Cooper also stressed important concerns such as speaking up by calling or e-mailing those organizing commencement in order for students’ voices to be heard, but presenting themselves as a unified front.

Senior vice president Anthony DePinho, brought up the point that commencement had been moved to a Friday within previous years in order to accomodate an off-campus commencement. This was reported in The Quadrangle on Feb. 20, 2017 in an article titled “Spring Commencement Moved to Weekdays.”

“We’re exploring all kinds of different options, but we are aware that if we do it business as usual, it’s going to be two tickets and that’s not great,” Provost William Clyde had said at the time about moving commencement to a weekday. “That’s not what we want, that’s not what they [the students] want. We were aware that moving off a weekend would give us more flexibility there.”

At the time, the Class of 2019, which had enrolled a class size of 900 and had an 89 percent retention rate, was the largest Manhattan College had ever admitted.

“We should be accommodated for being a bigger class, not punished,” said Cooper.

After more comments and personal anecdotes were offered forward, the minutes were accepted and the meeting was adjourned.

The next assembly meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at noon in Kelly 5C.