By Alex Shapiro
Student Government met with College President Kathryn Foster again, swore in new senators and freshman class council members and recognized a student organization during its general body meeting on Sept. 19.
Foster encouraged SG to concern themselves with the issues that matter most to students. She emphasized the importance of reinforcing the College’s commitment to social justice. Foster is seeking to improve social justice on campus, as well as in Ewing and Trenton.
Students presented Foster with questions and concerns regarding issues including the College’s honors program, building maintenance, Medicaid in student health services and leadership roles on campus.
Taylor Mislan, a senior marketing major and SG’s vice president of student services, expressed her concerns regarding any plans to refurbish Roscoe West Hall.
Foster responded by explaining her desire to fix the facility and use the space for alumni events or formal events. After a long-term plan is developed, Foster intends to elaborate more on specific plans for renovation.
Suchir Govindarajan, a sophomore journalism and professional writing major and SG’s senator for Arts and Communication, was concerned with the divide in political groups on campus, following the student counterprotest against the conservative religious group Bible Believers last spring semester. He asked Foster how the College will implement inclusive policies on campus.
Foster replied by referring to Dr. Sigal Ben-Porath’s presentation held at the College’s “Inclusive Freedom: The Quest for a Democratic Culture” event on Sept. 17.
She stressed the importance of students needing to grow more comfortable hearing things that they might disagree with. With this, Foster also emphasized the importance of engaging in these meaningful conversations in a way that does not discourage students but make them more confident to speak up and address sensitive issues.
“TCNJ should not shelter their students from ideas that they might not like,” Foster said. “We need to hear things we don’t like.”
Tom Astarita, a sophomore finance major, asked how SG can help Foster serve the student body. Foster responded by affirming the need to understand students’ perspectives so that she can share students’ feelings with members of the College’s administration.
Additional discussions involving Foster will be held at SG’s general body meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
SG officially recognized one student organization, Men of Excellence. Men of Excellence upholds the idea of increasing the academic, professional and social success of underrepresented male students through increasing interaction and dialogue between underrepresented male students, faculty, staff and alumni, according to its members.
Men of Excellence’s long-term goal is to expand to all leadership organizations on campus by having member representatives in a variety of different organizations, according to its members.
SG announced upcoming events, including Community Fest, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29 and will include activities such as pumpkin decorating. Additionally, the sophomore class council’s Frutta Bowls fundraiser will take place from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Oct. 17.