By Mike Sherr
Executive President Suchir Govindarajan started the Oct. 7 Student Government (SG) meeting with business from the week before.
The first piece of old business deals with the recognition of a new organization called Lions of Wall Street. The organization would assist students in finding internships and jobs in the financial sector. After a debate, the general body voted in favor of recognizing the organization.
SG also voted on a bill that would take the names of absent members off of the ballot for a vote if they are absent. Normally, being absent would render an abstention vote and would negatively affect the bill.
However, since the bill was passed, new bills can now be voted on without absent members affecting its outcome. Members do have a chance to fill out absentee ballots so that their name remains on the voting ballot.
Govindarajan then moved the meeting forward to hear reports from other members of the Cabinet.
Govindarajan opened up the organization to discussion about his recent decision to forgo replacing two Freshman Class Council (FCC) members who recently resigned. The controversy surrounds a bill that was voted on Sept. 23 during that week’s GB meeting.
The bill would have removed the two FCC representative positions in question during the fall 2021 semester. The argument was that the positions had no defined purpose and caused tension between FCC members. The positions are not present in Sophomore Class Council and would potentially cause tension with the two FCC members running against their colleagues.
The bill ultimately did not pass due to concerns about freshman interest and representation in SG.
Govindarajan previously announced that the two members of FCC that filled those positions stepped down from SG and that he will not be appointing new members to these positions. A few members during that meeting questioned his decision, but the meeting moved on to other topics.
During the meeting, Govindarajan allowed the members of the general body to discuss his decision through menti.com, a website that makes comments anonymous. He read out many of the comments over Zoom and took time to answer them.
Most of the comments disapproved of Govindarajan’s decision, including one that read, “Did you even take (the general body’s) opinion into consideration?”
The power to appoint members to the FCC is given to the executive president in the organization’s constitution.
However, some members of SG came to Govindarajan’s defense, including most of the Cabinet.
Executive Vice President Bryanna O’Keefe reminded members that while the comments were anonymous, they should still be respectful.
“There are a lot of areas where we don’t have proper representation for the first year class … Some people may be new to TCNJ but are not necessarily attending college for the first time. You also have commuters and residential first-year students,” Govindarajan said. “There is a lot more room for robust representation.”
SG also created a Structural Innovation Task Force to explore ways to further represent the student body structurally.
Govindarajan suggested that those feeling strongly about keeping the positions should help in the effort to restructure them so they may be filled either for the spring of 2021 or for the class of 2025.