September 23, 2020

Stricter policies unfairly single out Pasternack

If you haven’t heard this guy’s name already, then you shouldn’t be here at the College. He is infamous for winning the Student Government Association (SGA) presidency and then getting caught drinking, forcing him to forfeit the position.

Now he is getting notoriety for filing a lawsuit against the College. Since then, there have been rumors flying and half-truths populating the air around here. But what’s the real story?

Is Pasternack really just a guy getting angry because he got his hands dirty, or is there more than just ego here?

Last year, we had an awful thing happen at our school. Freshman John Fiocco was found dead in a Pennsylvania landfill, and to this day no one knows what really happened. That incident really changed our school, and I’m not just talking about 24-hour swipe.

The second blow came to our school when the Fiocco family decided to sue the school for damages, citing that we did not have an effective drug and alcohol policy. That’s why during the second weekend back at school this year, parties were raided by Campus Police.

Many fraternities decided to cancel parties planned for that weekend, and parties have continued to be scarce. I have seen students being arrested for alcohol possession on their first offense and getting booked at the station.

From my own experience a couple of weeks ago, I was waiting behind Travers and Wolfe for a friend when a Campus Police officer asked for my name and also asked that I turn out my pockets.

In fact, I was waiting for a friend who was arriving late, but the officer looked at me like I was a criminal. That has never happened before. There was no reasonable suspicion here, and I felt that my rights were being violated. That’s how Pasternack feels about the presidency.

Let’s face it: the College has been under pressure to show that we are “effective” in controlling our students’ alcohol usage. When Pasternack was caught, the College used him to show that there are repercussions to drinking in a very public way. But is this fair?

The rules of SGA state that only executive board members can be forced out for alcohol violations. If a senator or a class treasurer is caught drinking, they do not face expulsion. Even if they are running for office and are caught or even arrested, it does not disqualify them!

These rules are obviously hypocritical in that executive board members have to face these consequences and other members do not.

On another point, no one is perfect. Many people make mistakes, and clearly Pasternack made one. But does drinking really affect his role of being in control of SGA? He was more than qualified, as he has spent his entire college career in our student government.

He has been a senator of Culture and Society, Constitutional Review chair, vice president of Legal and Governmental Affairs and junior class vice president. He sponsored the attendance policy bill, Greek resolution, class council bills, a resolution on condemning the higher education budget cuts, the executive liaison bill and the senator of Science bill. In 2004, he created the legislator correspondence program.

Is this harsh punishment fair for a one-time offense? In essence, students were deprived of their choice for president because the votes clearly showed that Pasternack was the winner. As voters, we have a right to see that the person we choose to represent us actually represents us.

Why did the school get the right to decide the fair and just punishment for something that so many of us engage in? Not only that, but the administration took down someone who has been shown to be a student leader throughout his experience in SGA.

To people at the College who like to stand on their moral high chair and condemn Pasternack for what many people do, and will still do, I say to you this: Let he without sin cast the first stone.

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