Following the previous article regarding problems within Temple Student Government, which ultimately led to a resignation, another student has come forward with complaints, though he has not formally made these to TSG.
The student representative-at-large, Michael Stanik, a senior political science and history major, has had his share of controversy.
This is his first year in TSG-he was voted in by students and not through a student organization-but he has held positions in student government at his previous college, Marist.
Stanik described that school as much more conservative than Temple, so the low level of student activism here has surprised him.
He said that General Assembly representatives “roll over and play dead,” allowing those running TSG to take advantage of it.
“They seem like they are just there to get things moving and get out of there by 5:30,” Stanik said. “They don’t want to question things or ask why things are being done. Executive Committee has realized this … [they] can get GA to rubberstamp things.”
Candyce Cox, speaker of the General Assembly, said that she has told the reps they are the ones with the power. “It’s up to them to exercise it,” she said.
Baker said the same thing at a recent weekly meeting.
Cox said that earlier in the semester there was “no real room to be active” because meetings consisted largely of appointing student reps, but that people have become “more vocal” now that money is involved.
Stanik started “bucking the system” earlier in the semester when he openly complained about the GA’s power to vote to approve organizational reps. That power is listed in the By-Laws, but he believes it gives GA too much power and is a waste of time.
That meeting started with Stanik writing “gonna rock the boat” on the board in the front of the room. However, the rocking lasted less than expected. Stanik was called out of order and GA voted affirmative for his removal from the meeting. After he refused, the meeting was shutdown early.
Stanik was also asked to leave the Nov. 5 meeting, which he did. That removal resulted from his motion to say the Pledge of Allegiance. That motion was seconded, but ultimately voted down by the GA. At that point in the meeting, Stanik called those present fascists, a form of dictatorship. He also spit on the floor before leaving.
Cox said she was neither for nor against its inception into the meeting, but that “GA is mixed [with enough foreign students] that it was voted down.”
Reciting the Pledge is not an unusual request; its use during a governmental meeting is allowed in the Robert’s Rules of Order, a guideline for organizing meetings, which TSG uses.
The following meeting, he sat at his chair with a Russian Communist flag.
A plain-clothed officer now attends all GA meetings. Cox said that a sergeant-at-arms is generally present at governmental meetings as well.
“We’ve looked at things to change at our general assembly meetings,” T.J. Baker, student body president, said, because of the disruptions, not because of any complaints made by Robert O’Brien, the student who resigned from his chair position.
“Everyone just wants to come to GA to see what kind of things he’s going to pull and it’s not about that. It’s about business.”
In an e-mail from Stanik, which he initiated, he sided with all the complaints made by O’Brien. In addition, the e-mail went into specific times when the Constitution and By-Laws were broken.
At a meeting earlier in the semester, Stanik and O’Brien contested a vote made by Baker for the budget. The budget has been the major problem cited by both Stanik and O’Brien.
Baker, as president, can not vote. Baker admitted to voting and said that afterward, his vote was contested. Voting stopped to determine the legality. In the end, it was struck down, but the budget was still approved.
On another occasion, student reps that had yet to be sworn in to office voted, but their being sworn in or not was not determined until after the voting took place. Baker said that this was a real problem. He added that those reps had submitted their letters of intent and had been approved by the Executive Committee.
At the Nov. 19 meeting, an updated budget was presented to the student reps and was passed. O’Brien and Stanik were not present for that meeting, something Cox found “very interesting.”
About the Constitution, By-Laws and Robert’s Rules of Order, Stanik said that many people in GA were uncomfortable with them. He cited the material being made available late in the semester as the problem.
On TSG’s Web site, the October 2001 By-Laws are not yet available for viewing. A portion of the 1999 version is posted.