Saturday, June 22, 2024

SA still fights to bring change to PSUC

Changes are coming to Plattsburgh State, and the PSUC Student Association Senate used the minutes of its eighth session this semester Wednesday evening to discuss some of them.

Among them were revisions to the student code of conduct, the possible return of a yearly concert and a possible increase in the mandatory SA fee included in students’ tuition bills.

Vice President of Student Affairs Bryan Hartman and Director of Student Conduct Larry Allen presented for the fourth time this week the new draft of the code, revised on March 26.

“This is the first time we have done a broad consultation process about changes to the student code of conduct,” Hartman said. “This has always been a living document, but understandably so, no one would know that.”

The pair revealed the draft first to students Monday before presenting to the faculty senate and the SA Executive Council. The draft is on track to go to the College Council on April 16, which will vote whether or not to approve the changes.

Hartman and Allen worked alongside SA members, the SUNY General Counsel’s office, students from the conduct board, faculty and staff members, Housing and Residence Life staff and University Police in writing the draft.

A major revision broke up behaviors outlined in former Section 7 titled “Disorderly Conduct” into several individual sections: 7, “Disruptive Conduct;” 16, “Harassment;” and 26, “Threatening or Abusive Behavior.”

Additionally, a full section would now be devoted to sexual violence cases, and information was added to the “Violations of Civil or Criminal Law” section, related to the likelihood of a more severe sanction if found guilty of committing a hate or bias-related crime.

The task remains, Hartman noted, in getting the student body to read and understand the behaviors expected of them, or the changes are meaningless.

“Almost all students never read this document,” Hartman said. “There’s nothing we can do to force you to read the entire document, but we can get better at putting the information in front of you.”

SA Vice President of Finance Shiyiheeim Nartey-Tokoli pitched the idea to resurrect bringing a major artist to campus to perform a concert, citing a bubbling interest in the idea among students.

The idea was met with mixed responses, as some senators and gallery members were concerned about the cost of a concert, which Nartey-Tokoli estimated would be between $150,000 and $200,000, when the college and the SA are already on shaky budget grounds.

If the SA were to sponsor a concert, it’s possible campus could see further cuts to clubs’ budgets and other regular activities, such as Coffeehouse, slashed.

“Almost everything would be affected,” Nartey-Tokoli said. “But once again, we’ll give them [students] the option to choose.”

Hartman cautioned that if students are going to vote on the matter, they need to be fully aware of what activities they may have to trade in, but added that “we cannot ignore the interest that’s being expressed.”

Unrelated to the budget for a concert, Nartey-Tokoli proposed the idea of increasing the mandatory SA fee students pay in their tuitions, which would help to boost declining revenue caused by PSUC’s low enrollment numbers.

The current fee is $97, but it’s possible students could see that number go up to between $100 and $110, which would increase the SA budget by roughly $80,000 to $97,000.

SA President Jessica Falace, Executive Vice President Kristin Berkey and two other executive board members will travel to Syracuse this weekend for the Spring 2018 SUNY SA Conference.

The group will present the SA’s resolution, passed last week, that calls for a change in the SUNY Display of the Flag Policy that would allow SUNY schools to raise flags that are meaningful to individual campuses. Under the current policy, colleges are permitted to hoist only: the U.S. Flag, the New York State flag, the United Nations flag, the Red Cross Flag and a unique campus flag or banner.

“I’ve gotten a lot of support so far from different SUNY schools,” Falace said. “It’s being talked about in the SUNY system, [and] a lot of schools know what’s going on here.”

If the resolution passes this weekend, it will then go to the SUNY Board of Trustees, which will either approve or reject the motion.

Both a Black Lives Matter flag and pride flag are already displayed in the Angell College Center against regulation.

The flag policy amendment is only the latest in a series of resolutions passed by the SA dealing with diversity issues on campus.

In February, the SA passed a vote of no confidence in a trio of administrators. Falace said the resolution is still very much alive.

“It’s not gone; it’s still in people’s minds,” Falace said. “I’m not going to let them forget it.”

Email Rebecca Natale at

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