SASS seeks answers about possible SA split

Assistant Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Mike Gargano’s request for information about the proposed Student Association split has sparked a debate between him and some SA members.

Gargano wrote a memo to SA members March 15 asking for information about the SA’s plan to split into undergraduate and graduate groups. But graduate Sen. Emily Cummins (CSAS) said Gargano’s memo surprised her, and she felt he was intruding into student politics.

“Our actions have been in accordance with the provisions for amendment in our founding documents,” Cummins said in a memo.

But Gargano said he wrote to SA members because he has not been told of their specific plans to split the SA. He said he doesn’t “have a position (on the split) one way or the other.”

“I have a responsibility to ask questions from time to time of not only the SA, but the Program Board, the Marvin Center Governing Board, any of our student organizations,” Gargano said.

Gargano said he has heard many different rumors about a possible split but has not heard them from SA senators. He said SA President Carrie Potter has been “probably the only one” to communicate with him regarding the split.

“I have read a few Hatchet stories and heard numerous rumors on the street relative to the reasons some student leaders believe a split of the Student Association is necessary,” Gargano wrote to SA leaders. “Rather than accept the articles and rumors as fact, I am asking the elected and appointed student leadership to brief me on exactly what is going on.”

Cummins said communication with the administration regarding the split has been clear.

But Gargano said he has heard “rumors on the street” including the possibility of separate undergraduate and graduate presidents.

“I don’t want to listen to the rumors,” Gargano said. “I would rather come directly to the people who are in charge.”

Scott Mory, former president of the Student Bar Association, said the administration has a right to know about important issues regarding the SA.

“All (Gargano) did was asked to be kept in the loop,” Mory said. “I assume (Cummins) has a gut reaction to protect the Student Association from a perceived threat. I don’t think (Gargano) is that threat.”

SA Executive Vice President Jesse Strauss said he would like to meet with Gargano and other SA members so Gargano will understand the process of the split.

“I think (Gargano) just wants to be kept in the loop,” Strauss said. “He would intrude if he went a step further.”

But graduate Sen. Jon Rodeback (CSAS) said Gargano has intruded on the SA’s work in the past.

“(Cummins’ memo) was certainly justified,” Rodeback said. “Gargano has a history of interfering with things.”

Gargano said he was not trying to end the split process but wanted the ability to inform others if they ask him about it.

“Basically, students will end up making this decision of what kind of student government we’re going to have,” he said. “If it works, great, if it doesn’t work, the next group of students will change it.”

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