Student Government members negotiated with Drew’s Vice President of Finance and Business Affairs Howard Buxbaum to change the policies regarding replacing student ID cards and how much money a group can spend on food for an event.
Under the new policy, students will still have to pay the $25 fee for lost ID cards. However, worn-out or defective ID cards will be replaced free of cost at the Business Office. “We are now replacing damaged cards at no cost. We had a meeting several weeks ago with Student Government and they made a strong case that worn out [and] damaged cards should be a university responsibility,” Buxbaum said.
“For as long as I can remember, members of the Drew community were upset with the $25 replacement fee. Student Government heard numerous complaints about this issue in recent weeks and resolved to remedy it in any way possible,” Student Government President Frank Barbosa (’12) said.
Barbosa met with Buxbaum, along with his co-workers, Bursar Kelley Parsons and Student Account Representative Steph Mazzarella, before spring break to present his case.
“At the beginning of the meeting, I mentioned that students were quite upset with the steep replacement fee, and we needed to figure out a way to lower the fee amount. I explained that some of the ID cards break or wear out very easily. After much discussion, it was decided that students should not have to pay if their ID cards are broken or worn-out. The reasoning behind this is that sometimes the cards break or wear out somewhat easily. Often, the breaking or wearing out of a card is not the fault of the student. Therefore, we settled on removing the replacement fee for broken or worn-out cards,” Barbosa said.
This policy takes effect immediately. Drewids can replace broken or worn-out cards free of charge, as long as they bring the defective card to the Business Office when they go to get a replacement.
“The negotiations were much smoother than expected. At the time I was pretty sure that no one would support removing the fee. At most I expected them to lower the fee rather than remove it completely. However, they were very receptive to the idea. They did recognize that sometimes students can’t control whether a card breaks or wears out, and for that reason students shouldn’t be punished with a steep replacement fee,” Barbosa said.
Most members of SG feel satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations.
“We have scored a great victory for the students. We’ve heard plenty of stories where students dreaded going to the Business Office to pay for a broken card because of the steep replacement fee. Now students can get their broken/worn-out cards replaced for free, and Student Government is very happy about that,” Barbosa said.
This was not the only victory SG members scored for the students.
Freshman senators Addison Del Mastro (’15) and Mark Patronella (’15) negotiated with Buxbaum about the limited food budget clubs can spend on food at events.
Student clubs were only allowed to spend up to $100 on food for events, but Del Mastro and Patronella bargained for a higher budget.
“Originally, our goal was to more broadly understand our business contract with Aramark better. We asked Howard [Buxbaum] about the $100 cap on food and where it was in the contract, and he told us it wasn’t in the contract. It was basically just an informal settlement Drew and Aramark agreed on. Aramark does technically have exclusive catering rights on campus through an ‘exclusivity clause’ in the contract, but that limit is allowed. When we learned that it was not in the contract, we asked if it could be raised. He said he would bring it up to Aramark later in a meeting, and the next day he e-mailed us saying that they had agreed to give us up to $150,” Del Mastro said.
Del Mastro and Patronella said that the administration seemed very willing to work with them on this issue. “It was very interesting doing this because I would say we felt like Mr. Buxbaum was really listening to us, about our questions and what some student concerns were about these issues, and we were all very reasonable. It was empowering to realize we can get these kinds of changes on campus by having a clear idea of what we want, seeking good communication and going about it professionally,” Del Mastro said.
Patronella believes that having a larger food budget will increase student interest in campus events. “This change in school policy will improve student life by increasing dietary options for Drew students. We also expect that this increased availability of outside food will increase attendance at various club events. We are happy to see that clubs have already begun to take advantage of this new cap when submitting proposals for events,” he said.
“I hope this shows students that we really have more power than we think to make positive changes on campus. We just have to take initiative. Based on how willing Aramark and Mr. Buxbaum were to raise the limit, I can’t imagine that anyone asked about this before. So I just wonder how many daily annoyances we might be able to fix if we would go and communicate with people like Mark and I did here,” Del Mastro said.
The Student Government met on Sunday to discuss some of their upcoming events.
This meeting was more of a tutorial session for new members to the Student Government staff—though that’s not to say that nothing got done.
At last Sunday’s meeting, the Student Government met and discussed upcoming plans (Photo by James McCourt)
Issues addressed at the meeting included the rules and regulations for Student Government officials, as well as the appropriate way to address issues on the senatorial floor.
Earlier this week in a conversation with Senator Elect Emmanuel Luis Crespo (’15), we spoke of upcoming Student Government events for Drew. We discussed a possible proposition for increasing the Commons hours from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays.
The quality of the food at the Commons was also discussed. Because Drew was voted 15th worst college food in this year’s Princeton Review, the Student Government will be working hard to better the quality of the food this year.
The Student Government will also be working to gain access to more vegetarian-friendly foods. Crespo also said to expect “innovating ideas coming up from the freshman class.”
Any students with questions or concerns about the school as a whole will be able to attend the bi-weekly office hours all Student Government senators will hold. Students may use these meetings to bring up any issues they may have, or to discuss anything that they want to be brought up at the Student Government’s weekly meetings.
Crespo said, “this is vital to increase efficiency and awareness of what issues can be addressed on campus.” New members to Drew’s Student Government senatorial staff include Yanko Polanco Jr (’15), Hetika Shah (’15), Addison Del Mastro (’15), Crespo, and Frank Minio (’15).
These members will be sworn in at a special ceremony that will be held on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. This will precede their usual 7:00 p.m. weekly meeting. Both meetings will be held in LC 28.
Freshman Senators (Class of 2015)
Yanko Polanco Jr.
Addison Del Mastro
Emmanuel Luis Crespo
Sophomore Senators (Class of 2014)
Junior Senators (Class of 2013)
Jen Van Wingerden
*The fourth junior class senator position will be decided on Saturday in a tie-breaker vote between Storm Wyche and Timothy Barnum.
Senior Senators (Class of 2012)
After yesterday’s Student Government senatorial election, 308 students voted on the Constitutional amendment to shift the responsibilities of the Judiciary Council to the Attorney General.
The amendment passed, with 245 students, or 79.5% voting to approve it. 63 students, or 20.5% voting disapproved the amendment.
The Student Government senate passed the amendment at an August 29 meeting, in a 7 to 2 vote.
The question on the ballot read, “Do you approve or disapprove of the Student Government Constitutional amendment that would shift the responsibilities of the Judiciary Council to the Attorney General?”
Since the amendment passed, the Judiciary Council will be removed from the Student Government Constitution, and the Attorney General—Andrew Bishop (’14)—will now be responsible for hearing all appeals from Student Government decisions that involved a procedural error.
“I’m happy this amendment passed. It is really going to simplify the appeals process for clubs. As everyone is getting used to the new system, it is important to make this process as easy as possible. With a higher level of accountability, the appeals process will be more efficient and transparent to clubs in the entire student body,” said Student Government Attornney General Bishop.
Judiciary Council set to go to polls
On August 29, the Student Government met to propose an amendment that would remove the Judiciary Council and its responsibilities from the Constitution.
The Judiciary Council currently is responsible for hearing all appellate matters in cases where student organizations are denied money by the Student Government, due to procedural error. With the removal of the Judiciary Council from the Constitution, the Attorney General would become responsible for its roles.
Student Government Chief of Staff Janelle Hoffman (’13), President Franklin Barbosa (’12), Vice President Virginia Vazzana (’12) and Attorney General Andrew Bishop (’14) discuss the amendment to remove the Judicary Council from the Constitution at the Aug. 29 Student Government meeting (File Photo)
“The Attorney General’s duty in the Student Government has always been to interpret the Constitution and By-Laws and to inform members and students of those rules. With the Attorney General position already in place, we believe that forming a Judiciary Council would be redundant and unnecessary,” Student Government Chief of Staff Janelle Hoffman (’13) said about the shift of powers.
The Attorney General under the Barbosa-Vazzana administration—Andrew Bishop (’14)—has positive outlooks on the change. Bishop’s work as a freshman class senator under the Melendez-Barbosa administration earned him the position of Attorney General after Barbosa was voted into office in April.
“Having a Judiciary Council would essentially duplicate this role, potentially lead to a diffusion of responsibility amongst its members, and complicate the appeals process for clubs. In having one point-person for all appeals, it simplifies the process and also leads to a higher degree of accountability,” Bishop said.
Student Government Chief of Staff Janelle Hoffman (’13) also is optimistic about the proposed changes to the Constitution.
“This change is no more than a simple transfer of power. The Student Government feels that removing the Judiciary Council will help the system be clearer and more cohesive,” Hoffman said.
Stressing a reliable and efficient government, “I believe students will approve of this change,” Barbosa said.
After the Senate approved the proposed amendment 17 to 2 at the August 29 meeting, the amendment will now appear on the senatorial election ballot this Thursday.
The quote below was made by Student Government Chief of Staff Janelle Hoffman (’13) not by President Franklin Barbosa (’12):
“The Attorney General’s duty in the Student Government has always been to interpret the Constitution and By-Laws and to inform members and students of those rules. With the Attorney General position already in place, we believe that forming a Judiciary Council would be redundant and unnecessary,”
The Judiciary Council appellate matters include club statuses, proposals for support that are presented to the Senate, etc…not just money.
The statement below was taken out of contex:
After reviewing the By-Laws this summer, the Cabinet of the Student Government noticed that the role of the Judiciary Council violated language in the Constitution that states, “breaking procedure cannot happen and will not be tolerated.”
The intended role of the Judiciary Council was to review cases where a procedural error occurred.