The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student Government shake-up brings dismissals, one resignation

Photo by Jen-Feng Liu for The Lafayette
Some Executive Board members’ classes conflicted with Student Government meetings.

Last week, two Student Government representatives were relieved of their duties and an Executive Board member resigned, a development prompted by the Student Government’s recent inability to meet a quorum at General Body meetings. 

Director of Public Relations & Marketing Trebor Maitin ’24 said that at the beginning of the academic year, there were 36 members of Student Government. This count has since dropped to 29 members, which means at least 15 members must be present for a quorum, or the minimum number of Student Government members that must be at meetings for resolutions to proceed.

“Over time, we had members drop for various reasons … We also had some more go abroad,” Maitin said. “But … throughout, we’ve had issues with attendance, and per our constitution and bylaws, members of student government are permitted but three unexcused absences.”

Maitin said that a quorum has not been met at two Student Government meetings so far this academic year.

This past week was especially of importance because we had to approve changes to the election guidelines, he said. With elections starting at the end of this week, it was a pretty pressing matter.

Last weekend, Student Government held an emergency meeting to discuss the elections and to approve four new clubs. The meeting only barely passed a quorum.

According to Maitin, Student Government reviewed our attendance policies and decided that we needed to enforce them.”

Since then, the former director of Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Shreya Raizada ’25 was asked to resign, and two representatives, Carolyn Eppolito ’23 and John McParland ’23, were removed from Student Government.

“I did really love … my position … but I did have a night class,” Raizada said. She was enrolled in a course necessary for her Asian Studies major which conflicted with the General Body meeting time on Thursday evenings.

According to Article VI Section 2 of the old Student Government Bylaws, an excused absence from meetings includes “required academic functions.

Maitin said that Raizada did not inform Student Government about the class.

Raizada said that the policy in the new Student Government constitution which mandates that one cannot join Student Government if one cannot attend the meetings on Thursday evenings – even because of classes – could be problematic.

“I think it’s kind of unfair because a lot of these aren’t classes that we’re choosing to take … but [ones] that we need to take,” Raizada said.

In Raizada’s absence, vice president Fatimata Cham is stepping into the role of director of Equity & Inclusion, and will hold both positions until the next election.

“I was the former E&I director so after Shreya’s resignation I decided to take it back on up … since I was still connected with some of the projects E&I was still working on,” Cham said.

Eppolito was relieved of her duties for similar reasons to Raizada.

“They made it clear last semester that you would have to be able to attend the meeting Thursday at seven to be able to be a part of Student Government, which I believe was a new policy … because they were trying to make the meetings at night more collaborative as opposed to different committees having their own meetings outside of General Body times,” Eppolito said.  

Eppolito said that it proved difficult to utilize this time for committee activities, and committees continued to accomplish most of their projects at outside meetings. However, while she could make her weekly committee time this semester, she is enrolled in a Thursday night class, an international affairs capstone that she must take this semester in order to graduate.  

Eppolito and Raizada received notification about their impending departure from Student Government via email last Thursday. 

McParland was not reached for comment.

It appears that difficulties with attendance and meeting quorum have resulted in part due to delays in approving Student Government’s revised constitution last semester.

“Because the faculty couldn’t meet quorum as well and vote on the constitution, we weren’t able to proceed with that constitution,” Matwos Tadesse ’24, current student government president, said. “So a lot of people thought that their term ended last semester.”

Article V of the old Student Government Constitution stated that “the term of office shall be one calendar year, from January 1st to December 31st.” 

Though the revised constitution has now been passed, due to these delays, elections were not held last semester as originally planned. Instead, they will take place today through next Tuesday, Feb. 14th.

“A lot of these problems should be alleviated with the new model or restructuring of Student Government that we’re going to be doing within this coming semester,” Cham said.  

Disclaimer: Managing editor Trebor Maitin ’24 is the Public Relations & Marketing director for Student Government and news editor Emma Chen ’24 is a representative on the Equity & Inclusion Committee. Neither contributed writing or reporting to this story.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Maya Nylund
Maya Nylund, Staff News Writer
Jen-Feng Liu
Jen-Feng Liu, Staff Photographer

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *