Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution during their senate meeting on Monday March 1, outlining their discontent with the lack of transparency and collaboration between the campus administration and USG.
USG shared the resolution, titled “Shared Governance Resolution of 2018,” on their Facebook page on March 6. The resolution states that not consulting with USG before policy implementations violates both SUNY and Stony Brook policies that establish a shared governance model to enfranchize all stakeholders on campus.
“There have been numerous cases where really key and critical decisions affecting the student body have been made with little to no consultation with student government,” USG President Ayyan Zubair said.
Zubair, who wrote the resolution for USG, noted the recent decision to merge the roles of vice president of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students, and the decision to get rid of winter commencement were two instances in which USG should have been involved.
“When I initially heard that winter commencement was being canceled that was news to me, I had not been informed of it, I hadn’t been asked of it, I don’t think anyone in student government had been asked of it,” Zubair said. “The day-to-day minor things, I understand that you can’t dispose us for everything … but the really big ones, the ones I just highlighted, there should be student input for that.”
USG has repeatedly notified the administration of their frustration with the lack of inclusion on big decisions and was ensured that they would be included in the future, but there were no improvements, Zubair said.
“In his new role as interim VP of OSA and Dean of Students, Dr. Rick Gatteau has already had productive meetings with the undergraduate student government executive council and the president of the GSO and is committed to keeping the lines of communication active and open,” Alida Almonte, manager of University Media Relations, said in an email statement.
At a University Senate meeting on Mon. March 5, USG treasurer Alex Bouraad asked Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. why the student body as a whole was not sent emails about the hiring freeze and the resignation of College of Arts and Sciences Dean Sacha Kopp. Stanley said the failure to send the email about Kopp’s resignation was a communications error that he takes responsibility for.
“It is really important that we, again, try to be as transparent as we can during this time,” Stanley said.
USG is hopeful that the administration will include them when making policy changes that affect the students in the future, Zubair said.
“I know that these are hard times for a variety of reasons, and I think the best way to kind of combat hard times is for people to come together and make decisions in an inclusionary process,” Zubair said.
Rebecca Liebson contributed reporting.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT GOVERNMENT