SGA President Tetelman Reports on Student Government Association’s Opportunities, Challenges

SGA President Tetelman Reports on Student Government Association’s Opportunities, Challenges

Photo Courtesy of Skidmore.edu

Three weeks after the official beginning of the academic year, Charles Tetelman is already fully immersed in his post as Student Body President. Tetelman, a senior government major and international affairs minor, hopes to use his term to address concerns regarding Sexual and Gender Based Misconduct, as well as diversity issues, that arose in the final weeks of last semester.

These events, the Black Lives Matter march through campus and the protest of the readmission hearing of a student found guilty by the college of sexually assaulting another student, created a heightened sense of student activism on campus. Specific plans in response to the later have already begun. “Former Senior Class President Soraya Attia did an incredible job at creating the [It’s Happening Here] campaign. The framework is still there,” Tetelman says. Additional efforts will be managed by Miles Calzini and former Student Body President Addison Bennett.

Despite clear goals and the experience of Student Government Association (SGA) veterans, new challenges have presented themselves already. The SGA has been struggling to adjust to the new structure and positions outlined in last year’s constitutional changes. “It is incredibly difficult to continue our normal business while figuring out a completely different system. Yet, that will be less of an issue as we get more comfortable with the new positions.” The constitutional referendum took place in March. 850 students voted and 95.5% of votes cast were in favor of the changes.

The low attendance at the polls last Spring were just a snapshot of a greater lack of student involvement in policymaking. Even in the wave of student activism surrounding Sexual and Gender Based Misconduct last year, an open forum addressing these issues was barely attended. In a recent meeting with President Glotzbach and members of his team, Joshua Woodfork of the President’s Office mentioned the event was held in Gannett Auditorium under the anticipation of a large crowd but ultimately only hosted roughly 30 students.

Tetelman will be relying on his fellow representatives to navigate the challenges and address goals.  He also iterates the importance of creating community. “Collaboration is one of our main focuses for this year and it requires a relationship between students and their representatives,” he emphasized.

Tetelman further complicated his concerns regarding a compartmentalization at Skidmore, by voicing dissatisfaction with the relationships between faculty and student communities.  “I do believe there is a distinct separation…for the most part, academics are the only pillar of the student-professor relationship,” he explained. The remedy? This year’s SGA will attempt to bolster faculty presence at student events in an attempt to “create a solid foundation for a more unified community.”

Students may bring forth concerns, suggestions, or general comments at any Student Government Senate Meeting in Ladd 307 at 8pm on Tuesdays.

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