Student government hopefuls campaigning across campus

By Anthony Ingham
Sports Editor

The race for positions on the Student Government Association is on as prospective campus leaders are campaigning around campus for votes.


SGA vice presidential candidate Emma Mendoza and Senator Natalie Otero. Photo by: Alexa Wyszowski

The positions currently vacant are the vice president, Inter Club Council president, treasurer, secretary, and 20 senators are also needed. The senators serve as representatives to committees within the campus, including the Academic Standards Committee, Accessibility Awareness Committee, Curriculum Committee, Diversity Committee, Safety Committee and Student Affairs.

Student Elections take place from Thursday, Oct. 11, to Friday, Oct. 12 via Blackboard. The current president is Emily Herrera.

CCM’s club listing says that the SGA is the governing body for all students enrolled. It’s mission is to further the well-being of the student body by representing students on various college committees.

“I hope that the SGA can have a stronger presence on campus this year,” said Natalie Lopez, SGA senator. “It’s never a bad thing to have more members informing more people about the well-being of our students.”

Individual positions have their own responsibilities, powers, and duties, such as the senators having the ability to enact any by-laws and rules that are deemed necessary for the proper functioning of the SGA, or even the president being the official representative of the student body to the college community and the public.

“It’s an extremely important process that the members have to take, something almost like a tradition,” said Don Phelps, director of campus life and faculty adviser to the SGA. “We’ve been doing things this way for the last 25 years, and so far it’s worked pretty well.”

In order for the students to be elected, they must complete a section of the SGA’s Election Brochure, part of which involves obtaining 25 signatures from the students to inform the students that the candidate is running, getting an interview with the Nomination Committee, and receiving at least two-thirds approval from them.

“Everyone should know that we are open to them, and we want to hear from the people so we can present these issues to the student body and make them more aware,” said SGA Senator and Black Student Union President Henry Agyei. “Student support is the lifeblood of the SGA, and without it, our club and CCM would definitely have more problems than they would have otherwise.”

SGA, new president, seeking replacement senators

By Gina N. Fico
Features Editor


The SGA meets in the Student Community Center. PHOTO BY ARIANNA PARKS

A resignation of a sitting president and the removal of four senators for lack of attendance HAS left the County College of Morris Student Government Association seeking new members.

The position of president had been filled by Grace Fenners, a biology major who has been at CCM for two and half semesters.

Last semester, Fenners was in the SGA as a senator of the safety committee but was appointed president after last semester’s president Karen Vasquez chose not to return.

Fenners said she enjoys the new position.

“I like it; I like the people; it’s definitely nice to work with the facility and staff and see what CCM has to offer,” Fenners said.

Fenners said that the SGA works as an active voice with the student body through surveys to provide a basis for what students think. She hopes to provide a voice for the students’ health, happiness, and safety.

Faculty adviser Don Phelps said SGA is big on recruitment and has a lot of vacant positions to fill. The next meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 27, and the club is hoping to fill some executive board positions and a majority of the senate positions available.

Phelps, the associate director of campus life, said the SGA is involved with various cases at CCM such as working with the Muslim Student Association in its request for a mediation room as well as with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent corporation which accredits colleges including CCM.

Phelps said he hopes for there to be more awareness of the student government, so students know where to go if they have an issue.

“I think one of the challenges here, especially at CCM, is that students don’t know that they have a student government,” Phelps said.

Megan Frehill, a nursing major, said she is satisfied with her experience at CCM so far; she enjoys the events CCM offers and said that the SGA should continue to hold events because they are enjoyable.

“It’s a really, really nice community college,” Frehill said. “It feels like a bigger college because it has so much to offer.”

Phelps said if students are interested in SGA to contact them at to make a difference.

UPDATE: A shorter version of this article was posted online at approximately 2 p.m.  Wednesday, Feb. 21. The full version that was published in print was published online at approximately 10 p.m.

SGA ponders push for meditation room

Muslim Student Association sponsoring request

By Gina N. Fico
Features Editor

Members of County College of Morris’ Muslim Student Association have continued to campaign for the establishment of an interfaith meditation room, a proposal first presented from the club to the Student Government Association in the fall 2017 semester.

MSA members have been talking with Don Phelps, associate director of campus life and Student Government Association adviser, according to MSA faculty adviser and mathematics professor Gitanjali Rizk, who said having the Student Associations on board with the idea has been a challenge.

Matthew J. Bristol, former SGA vice president who served in fall 2017, said that some MSA members had initially suggested a “prayer room,” but SGA members had proposed that the campaign be changed to a meditation room. Phelps said the campaign is currently listed under both names and a final name is yet to be determined.

“I think that a prayer room so long as it is for everyone is perfectly fine,” Bristol said. “I want a prayer room that is also a meditation room, some place for people to go that is for everyone. They do not have the right to disrupt others’ prayer or meditation, and they should not be in that room because that is to be a place for peace, quiet, and for people to relax, pray, or meditate.”

However, Rizk said that while talks for a “prayer room” began last semester, the room will be a “meditation room” that will be open to all faiths and help with students’ stress.
“I think a room like this will provide students a place where they can go and pray, meditate, reflect on things around them, and as such, provide an avenue to relieve stress,” Rizk said. “This should further help them concentrate more on their education.”

The president of MSA, Yassar Kahn said that the opportunity for people to meditate is not just limited to students.

“It’s a really good addition to the campus for not only students but non-students,” Kahn said.

Vice president Fatema Ahmadi said the meditation room will help eliminate confusion. She said they pray in in the club rooms, but some people feel confused when they see others praying and she wants everyone to feel included.

“I want everyone to be united and come together as one,” Ahmadi said.

Rizk said they hope to have something decided about the mediation room this semester.

The idea of a meditation room is favorable to Beth Ochs, a liberal arts major at CCM, who meditates on a weekly basis. Ochs said that a mediation room will also help students succeed academically.

“I actually mediate about 20 minutes a day myself, so if I had a place to do here would be more than happy,” Ochs said.

She said the mediation keeps her more focused on what is important and helps her mind not race over unnecessary thoughts.

Phelps said a mediation room will also have similar benefits.

“I think it will give a great space for students to go to and reflect and recharge either mentally or spiritually,” Phelps said.

Phelps said a challenge is how often CCM is under construction, and a mediation room in Demare Hall has been suggested, but the plan hasn’t gone any further.
Shane Spritzer, a criminal justice major said a mediation room would benefit the CCM community because it’s a unique idea for people to try something new while also being  something for students who already mediate.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to try something they haven’t tried before,” Spritzer said.

Inter-Club Council continues Parent club, SGA awaits reform

By Lindsey Medwin
Managing Editor

As the reformation of the disbanded Student Government Association begins this semester, both the Office of Campus Life and division of student development and enrollment management look to rebuild the Inter-Club Council.

The ICC is a committee of student club leaders on campus that meet on a regular basis to discuss ongoing events and recruit volunteers while serving as a structured way of keeping students informed about what’s going on around campus.

The ICC was lead by the Student Government Association, so its final meeting was abruptly canceled last semester when the SGA was officially disbanded.  This cancellation was not a consequence of any issues with the Inter Club Council, but rather with the club that oversaw it.

In April, Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development, described the SGA at the time as “a governing structure that was not representing [the student body].”

The lack of representation Simmons described stemmed from a series of concerns the administration had with the Student Government Association last semester, including conflicts of interests among the governing body members, and an investigation concerning leadership.

“There’s nothing wrong with ICC; there was nothing wrong with ICC,” Simmons said, “It’s a wonderful body on campus and encouraged absolutely.”

Though the Inter Club Council will still be run by the Student Government Association going forward, the college has emplaced a new selection process for choosing the representatives.

“The big change will be how the ICC chair person is selected,” said Don Phelps, associate director of campus life. “In the past, the Student Government Association picked this person, but now the entire Student Association will have a say in who runs the ICC.”

The main objective with this change was to address the leadership problems and improve the diversity of students involved in major campus organizations like the Inter- Club Council and give students who may have not had an opportunity in the past a chance to lead this semester and in the future.

“It does give us an opportunity to broaden out amongst [the students],” Simmons said. “By the virtue of that it does make it much more representative.”

Until the Student Government Association is reinstated by mid-October, according to Phelps, the Office of Campus life will be hosting earlier ICC events.

Club leaders, advisors, and any candidates for club leadership positions are invited to the Student Leader Lunch-In Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 12:30 p.m. in the Davidson Rooms.

Two Inter-Club Council meetings have been scheduled as well Tuesday, Oct. 10 and Tuesday, Nov. 7. More information about these events will be released as the dates get closer.

Previously shut-down SGA prepares for elections

By Jannat Sheikh
News Editor

County College of Morris has begun the process to revive the Student Government Association in hopes to restore activity by Tuesday, Oct. 24.

In the spring 2017 semester, the SGA was shut down and the elections were canceled due to miscommunication, dysfunction, and allegations of dereliction of duty. There was confusion regarding the existence of discrimination clause in the SGA constitution. However, all clubs are covered under an anti-discrimination clause enacted by the Board of Trustees; no club or organization’s constitution can supercede that campus-wide edict.

Moreover, in April 2017, a few members of the SGA senate brought allegations against former President Malik White for sexual misconduct and tried to impeach him. After a thorough investigation, White was absolved of all allegations. Since then, the SGA has been disbanded.

Now, the process for identifying interested SGA candidates will start with one of two information sessions, according to Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment management. The first information session was Tuesday, Sept. 12, and the second will be Tuesday, Oct. 3.

“At these information sessions, students will learn about the new process for nominations and elections,” Simmons said.

Furthermore, Simmons said that this new process will include interested students applying for available positions and interviewing with a Nomination Committee consisting of faculty and staff appointed by Simmons. The individuals will be selected by this committee to get on the ballot.

“I won’t let the SGA office or club room become a hangout space; that’s what the pingpong room and game room is for.”

Demylee Pablos

SGA presidential candidate

“All candidates will need to be approved by two thirds of the Nomination Committee,” said Don Phelps, associate director of Campus Life and former co-advisor of the SGA.

In addition, the number of students who may run cannot yet be determined. This can only be known when the individuals apply for the available positions.

Available positions include Executive Board members (President, Vice President, Inter Club Council, Treasurer, Secretary) and 21 Senators.

In fact, the Inter-Club Council Chairperson will be voted on by CCM students during the election.  In the past, the ICC Chair was selected by the Senate according to Phelps.

Demylee Pablos, a hospitality management major at CCM, is one of the students interested in running for SGA president.

“Last semester had a lot of miscommunication and misunderstandings,” Pablos said. “Although I am nervous, I can assure you that I’m ready for the responsibility.”

Also, Pablos said that she will prevent misunderstandings by having an open dialogue with the students involved in clubs.

“Unlike a lot of people I know, I have an open dialogue with every person,” Pablos added. “And I won’t let the SGA office or club room become a hangout space; that’s what the pingpong room and game room is for.”

Pablos does not know anyone else who may be running in the elections.

On another note, students will be able to vote once an approved slate has been identified, according to Simmons.

Students can then vote in online elections which will be live on Blackboard from Tuesday, Oct. 17 to Thursday, Oct. 19, according to Phelps.

As Simmons said during the spring 2017 semester after the initial fallout, “I would expect the student government to really represent the student body and if we have such a small number of people voting, then it clearly won’t be representative.”

The SGA at CCM Facebook page states that the SGA is here to listen to the students and help resolve student issues. They are the official liaison between the students and the faculty. The SGA aims to create an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone at CCM.