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SGA president forced to resign
POSTED 1/15/07 AT 5:05 P.M.
|Editor’s Note: Links to supplemental materials related to this article, including Greenstein’s e-mails to Quinnipiac students and a Letter to the Editor, are available at the end of this article.|
After being forced to resign from his position on the Student Government Association in late November, former president Ross Greenstein sent an e-mail to over 1,500 Quinnipiac students Dec. 13 criticizing the university and urging students to voice their concerns to the university administration.
“It seems to me that every decision made at Quinnipiac is driven by either money or the national prominence of the university – no matter the impact it has on the students,” Greenstein said in the e-mail. “Whether inappropriate and unfair sanctions are being placed on students, the radio tower is being taken down eliminating the student radio station, the 1.9% service charge for putting money on your Qcard that is normally placed on the vendor (in this case the university), or packing excessive numbers of students into the residence halls in violation of Connecticut state law, these are things that make us unhappy and angry.”
Greenstein encouraged students to speak up about issues concerning residential life and judicial policies and procedures.
“Let [the administrators] know how they have strayed from the values listed in Quinnipiac’s mission statement and have lost sight of why they went into education in the first place,” Greenstein said.
Greenstein, a junior marketing major, was forced to resign Nov. 29 because he was in poor judicial standing, which is a violation of the SGA Constitution. According to Greenstein, he was put on probation by the Office of Residential Life for “creating messes and/or littering on campus or in a university-owned building” and “overloaded wastebaskets.”
The Constitution of the SGA states that “All members of Student Government must be in good judicial standing per the guidelines set forth in the most current Quinnipiac University Student Handbook.” If a member is in violation of this regulation, he or she must resign or be removed from the organization within 48 hours of the violation.
According to Greenstein, who lives with seven other juniors, he was first notified via e-mail that he had been written up by JoLynn Hamilton, the Assistant Director of Residential Life. Hamilton made an unannounced visit to Greenstein’s Village room at around 10 a.m. Oct. 30, and claimed that the room, which had two holes in the walls of the common room area, was messy. She took photos and wrote the residents of the room up on three charges and sentenced them to a conduct hearing.
The eight roommates attended two separate hearings with Hamilton Nov. 3, at which point Greenstein said that he was not responsible for the alleged violations. The two roommates responsible for damaging the walls were the only two penalized on those grounds, and were put on deferred suspension until May. The remaining six roommates were put on disciplinary probation until May.
“Anything higher than residence hall probation means you’re not in good judicial standing,” Greenstein said.
Greenstein sent a letter the next day to Monique Drucker, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, requesting an appeal of Hamilton’s decision. He was then granted a hearing with Melissa Murtagh, the Associate Director of Residential Life, on the grounds of new information.
“I had a letter signed by all my roommates stating I wasn’t there, wasn’t responsible, didn’t do it,” Greenstein said. “I also had a timeline of when I was in the room and where I was at the other times.”
On Nov. 16, Greenstein received an e-mail from Murtagh saying that the previous decision from Hamilton would be upheld. Greenstein said that Murtagh told him during their meeting that he should have either cleaned up the mess in his room or reported it to the Office of Residential Life.
“I understand some level of responsibility for my suite, I agree that you shouldn’t live that way, I don’t like the condition of it,” Greenstein said. “But I don’t understand being held responsible for creating a mess when I wasn’t there and everyone said I didn’t create it.”
After returning from the Thanksgiving holiday, Greenstein chose to resign in what he described as an “emotional meeting” with SGA members Nov 28.
“I told them the charges, I told them what had happened, and then I told them I had to resign,” Greenstein said. “The biggest thing they can do right now is stay strong.”
Jennifer Rosenbaum, the Vice President of Student Concerns at the time, immediately assumed the position of Acting President of the SGA. Rosenbaum was officially elected president during the SGA’s special elections meeting Dec. 6.
On Dec. 4, Greenstein wrote and submitted a letter to President John Lahey in hopes of discussing his situation. According to Greenstein, Lahey has not yet responded to him in any form. The following day, Lynn Bushnell, the Vice President for Public Affairs, e-mailed a statement to Quinnipiac faculty, staff and undergraduates.
Bushnell stated, “Quinnipiac University has had long-standing Student Affairs policies with regard to both academic and non-academic eligibility requirements to serve in Student Government Association.” While Bushnell withheld the name and details of any offense, she did confirm that “an officer of the Student Government Association recently failed to meet the eligibility requirements and therefore was required to resign a student government position.”
Greenstein also e-mailed seven of the top administrators at the university asking for closure and understanding for his situation, and received responses from three.
The last time an executive board member of SGA was forced to resign due to poor judicial standing was in 2004, when Michael Germano, the Vice President of Public Relations and a Village resident at the time, was written up by the office of Residential Life. A member who resigns is eligible to run for a position on SGA once he or she is back in good judicial standing.
“This is unfair not just because I have to resign from Student Government, but because no student should ever be on disciplinary probation for failing to report something,” Greenstein said.
Individuals in the president’s office were unavailable for comment.