Graphic by Miho Watabe, graphic arts editor
By The Drew Acorn Editorial Board
We were happy to see a large turnout and student interest in the recent Student Government presidential election. This year’s SG general election was one of the most contested we’ve seen in several years. As Frank Merckx, Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs, said, election complaints are not uncommon in such highly contended elections. As an organization that must observe students and campus happenings, we at The Drew Acorn are ecstatic that passion for democracy is being revived.
However, with that being said, we are concerned about the controversy which began immediately after the election and has only just been resolved. The conflict surrounds numerous complaints made by different candidates on several violations of the SG election statutes, including a violation of vote by proxy. We understand that in any given election passions may flare. We do not mean to target anyone specifically, and we have been glad to see incredible passion in this election, but the issue of proxy voting in this SG election is by far the most persistent issue that came out of this controversy.
Article V.E.4. of the SG election statutes states that any candidate or person who supports a candidate cannot “loiter and/or persistently attempt to influence voters at a polling station.” Physical polling stations were located at the Commons and Brothers College. However, Moodle, an online website, is also a polling station, albeit a non-physical one. The recent SG controversy begs the question, what happens when a SG candidate or supporter of a candidate influences voters, knowingly or unknowingly, through the use of technological gadgets like a tablet. To carry a tablet and physically solicit votes from students,, by opening the Moodle web page on the tablet ,could very well influence the voting decisions of students. Yet, the election statutes make no mention of the conduct of candidates and their supporters concerning the Moodle election web page and its designation as a “polling location.”
As college students whose worlds are often consumed by the use of technology, we should know more than most the increasing significance of technology. This election showed us all that technology is a significant part of the SG election process and is increasingly so. But without a clear statute that recognizes the importance of technology in the voting process and addresses certain issues that may arise because of it, SG candidates and their supporters can technically operate in a gray area that may keep them being held accountable for any potential conduct violations concerning online voting. It is imperative that SG address this and set a precedent for future SG elections if it is to maintain its legitimacy and respect among the student body.
The Feb. 21 Drew Acorn cover article “National Controversy Fuels Over Adjuncts” spotlights an issue that has been of great concern within academic circles for many years, so I would like to thank the Acorn staff for covering this important topic. However, I would also like to dispel certain misimpressions the article might have left with some readers.
The article attempts to make its point by contrasting adjunct faculty treatment, workload and compensation with those of full-time faculty. This has the possible unfortunate effect of misleading readers in two ways. First, the article suggests that only adjunct faculty have recently suffered reduced pay or benefits at Drew. In fact, full-time faculty salary and benefits have also been either reduced or frozen, and workloads increased, for many of the last five years.
Second, and more importantly, the article might have misled readers into thinking that full-time faculty and adjunct faculty are at odds with each other over this issue. This is emphatically not the case. In fact, Drew’s chapter of American Association of University Professors (AAUP), a national organization of university faculty established in 1915 to promote and safeguard the integrity of the academic mission and the fair treatment of those professionals who have made higher education their life’s work, has continually been a strong supporter of increasing adjunct pay and improving adjunct benefits and working conditions. That includes vocal criticism of the cut in adjunct pay noted in the article.
Chris Apelian is a professor in the dept. of mathematics & computer science, and Drew AAUP Chapter Steering Committee member.
Brothers College —Photo by Jack Duran
The snow days have confused our schedules enough, and the administration’s attempt to deal with them has heaped more confusion on us.
Last Wednesday, students were advised to go home so as not to be on campus when a large storm hit the next morning. It would seem that waiting out a storm on campus would be safer than driving home and then driving back in the next one or two days. So, not surprisingly, those students who did go home had trouble coming back for classes on Friday. Since Friday classes were held after 10:30, many students found themselves unable to attend class and without an official excuse. And it was because they took Drew’s advice in travelling home.
The second issue is the new way of making up classes that was not even announced by email to the students: having classes on multiple Saturdays throughout the semester. Some people have weekend plans already made while many others simply will not show up. Why a week could not be added to the already-short semester, we do not know. That has been the usual way of making up for lost time, and it seems far superior given people may have weekend plans that now must be cancelled in a week or two.
Admittedly, there are much more serious issues to gripe about, and losing a couple of Saturday afternoons is hardly the worst thing that could befall us. But this, combined with telling students to go home ahead of a major storm, is a notably poor way of dealing with something fairly commonplace. After Sandy and the Snowpocalypse, we know Drew can do better.
Megan Day eating a well-prepared meal at the Commons with INTO recruiters as part of the INTO's "familiarization" trip.
By Ivana Mitic – Staff Writer
Most of the student body can agree that Drew puts on a great show to attract the incoming crowd of INTO program visitors and freshmen, but why not keep the campus in great shape all of the time? As spring semester approaches, Drew has gotten out its bag of tricks to show visitors how great a campus we have. Students on campus have been raving on about how we only see these improvements in the campus when we receive visitors. But why can’t these improvements be permanent? Why not have a campus that is great instead of one that just looks great on certain occasions?
But why can’t these improvements be permanent? Why not have a campus that is great instead of one that just looks great on certain occasions?
The Commons has definitely been a prime example of the improvements Drew has been making for this past week. The Commons has been serving great food, even using nicer bowls, and having more employees dressed up working in the Commons, when in reality we never see this happening. The Commons and the Drew student body have been at constant war for years over wanting better food. This week we did get better food, but it was for the purpose of pleasing Drew’s visitors, not its full-time student body and staff. Students who pay an extremely costly tuition should be in this improved environment, not just get a glimpse of it when the school puts on this façade.
Another improvement is that the paths have—just in time—been plastered with banners of Drew pride. The students find them to be great for the campus since they show Drew pride, but was this only put up for the purpose of pleasing visitors? As a freshman myself I can say that when I came for Full Impact Day last year I was amazed by the campus. Last year, Drew showed hundreds of potential incoming students and this magnificent image of the campus, and now we can see the deterioration of this so-called perfect campus.
Like any college campus, Drew University wants to put its best foot forward and show all of the greatest aspects of the campus. The point is that the façade of a magnificent school needs to become a reality. We are a campus filled with great students and staff who need to be appreciated. Improving our campus when future investments are at stake is important, but we should not have to do this. The show Drew is putting on is nice while it lasts, but it will soon fade. The campus should always be at its best. Then the positive buzz about Drew will speak for itself. There won’t have to be a huge preparation or improvements on campus because it will already be held up to a high standard.
Ivana Mitic is a freshman at Drew University.
The administration’s unwillingness to respond to the concerns of community members at Wednesday’s town hall meeting on the proposed International Student Pathway program in the face of a pending vote is unacceptable.
Instead, if anything, Drew community members left the town hall meeting with even more questions than when they came.
Those who have been following the INTO discussion may feel like it’s been going on for a long time, but the possible partnership was only made public to the Drew community in September and will have its final vote in a month. Given the time frame, we hoped that all the pressing questions the Drew community had about the proposed program would be answered Wednesday by the administration. Instead, if anything, Drew community members left the town hall meeting with even more questions than when they came.
“We don’t know.” “We don’t have concrete information yet.” “This is still in development.” “We’re still figuring out the details.” If the town hall meeting was supposed to inform the Drew community about the proposed program, then it resoundingly failed at this task. This failure to address the reasonable concerns of students and faculty about the transformative nature of such a program is more than troubling. It gives the Drew community the impression that our feedback is not needed or wanted. Or even worse, that our concerns are not important and do not hold weight among the administrators. The Drew community has a legitimate right to understand how the program will be implemented, what will be the costs and how it will affect Drew both in the short term and long terms.
The INTO program could be a good thing for Drew. We understand the benefits that may come from such a program. It could very well transform Drew into a well-respected global institution. Yet this program could possibly worsen Drew’s financial situation as it seeks to allocate even more resources to accommodate a larger student population. There is no doubt this affects us all: administrators, staff, alumni, faculty and especially students.
This should be an all-inclusive process in which the thoughts of all members of the Drew community should be given weight. A Dec.18 deadline hardly gives the Drew community the opportunity to understand how such a program may affect Drew and the time for the administration to explain it. And so, unless the administration moves at warp speed in the next month to bring us, as well as the faculty, much needed information, we may add an unusual request to our usual refrain: don’t resolve this discussion so damn quickly!