GSB shoots down new student group

Steven Brittain

An attempt to establish the Nontraditional Student Union as a constituency council of the Government of the Student Body was defeated by the senate Wednesday night after several senators and a nontraditional student organization spoke out against the union.The bill, which was authored by Greg Tew, vice speaker of the senate, and former Union Drive Association Senator Rick Cordaro, proposed the recognition of the Nontraditional Student Union as an official constituency of GSB. Opposition to the bill stemmed from the fact that GSB’s definition of a nontraditional student is different than the university’s.Tew, off-campus, said anyone — even a freshman straight out of high school — can be considered a nontraditional student as long as the student is registered through GSB and has given up the right to vote for his or her college or residence constituency. If the Nontraditional Student Union were to be a GSB constituency council, the senate should use the GSB definition of a nontraditional student to determine who the council will represent, he said.Cordaro, who would have been president of the Nontraditional Student Union, is a nontraditional student by the definition of GSB, but he is not a nontraditional student by university standards. Cordaro, who is 21 years old and lives on campus, said the Nontraditional Student Union was created to fill a need of the GSB Constitution.”With elections coming up, we saw that the nontraditional students were not going to have any representation,” Cordaro said. “The intent of our group is to make sure that the students will have a voice.”Representatives from the student group, Older Adults Succeeding in School [OASIS], objected to the formation of the Nontraditional Student Union because of its lack of involvement with university-defined nontraditional students. Paula Lemke, president of OASIS, said she did not know nontraditional students had to register with GSB to be represented by the nontraditional GSB senator.”I talked to seven nontraditional students today, and not one of them knew about having to register,” said Lemke, senior in community and regional planning. Nontraditional student Doug Sick said OASIS currently is in the process of drafting a constitution, so they can potentially be recognized as the nontraditional student constituency council on GSB.”We feel that Cordaro would not be a very good representation of our group because he has given no publicity to the nontraditional community,” said Sick, junior in mechanical engineering. “We have 21-year-olds coming and trying to represent us. They simply are not a true representation of what we are about.”Several senators also were opposed to the recognition of the Nontraditional Student Union. Jennifer Larson, RCA, said the senate should not vote for the bill, since the Nontraditional Student Union’s constitution was not even ratified by a majority of the 10 students recognized as nontraditional by GSB. The constitution was written and ratified by only three of the registered non-traditional students, she said.”It is unconstitutional for us to ratify a constituency council that wasn’t even ratified with a majority of the people which it represents,” Larson said. “We can’t vote for it until they receive a majority within their own group.”Ben Golding, GSB president, said the senate needed to serve the students instead of serving the GSB Bylaws and Constitution.”The position that is being created should be created by the students that are going to be represented by that council,” he said. “That would not happen with the Nontraditional Student Union.”