Lawrenceville Senate backs Westminster’s break proposal

by Julia Ernst

Lawrenceville senators approved a motion at this week’s Senate meeting in favor of a fall break on both Rider campuses.
SGA vice president, senior Jon Chebra, opened the floor at the meeting for a formal debate, which included three Senate members speaking in favor of the break and three against.
“I feel like it is only fair to Westminster, and to Dean [of Students Anthony] Campbell, that we give them a resolution” on whether or not to have a fall break, Chebra said.
Cara Giovinazzo, senior class treasurer, spoke in favor of the motion.
“I support this,” Giovinazzo said. “First of all, it’s a huge improvement from last year. They really listened to us. We have to remember why we’re doing this — it’s for Westminster. We would be helping out our fellow students.”
Senior Brian Pawelko, SGA president, said this particular version of the proposal should be approved, partly, because it is an improvement from the previous ways the break has been proposed.
“I think it’s reasonable,” Pawelko said. “We’ve restructured it [and] moved it around.”
Members of the Senate who spoke out against the proposal also had a great deal to say about the motion.
“It really is just an inconvenience to me,” said senator Jarea Bivens, a freshman, in regard to the fact that the proposed fall break schedule would have classes ending on a Monday rather than a Friday. “If you really want to help out Westminster, give them two or three days, not just one.”
Alex D’Amico, SGA treasurer, said that he felt that the fall break proposal was not as significant a problem as other items the administration should be considering.
“I feel like the administration should be spending their time on important things,” D’Amico said.
“I want to be able to work,” he added, referencing the fact that the proposed fall break would also push final exams further into the weekdays and possibly impact students working at home over winter break.
Andrew Grandin, SGA chair of Clubs and Organizations, discussed the impact the break would have for resident advisors (RAs), who must stay until the last day of exams to close down the dorms after all students have vacated the buildings. The fall break proposal would push the last day of final exams until Dec. 23, which means that RAs would be on campus until Dec. 24.
“We’re pushing things to the limit this year,” Grandin said. “We represent [RAs], too, and we shouldn’t have them suffer.”
Chebra sent out a memo to Lawrenceville and Westminster Senate members later on Tuesday after the Senate meeting, summarizing the way the votes were counted out.
“The vote on the motion to consent was 29 in favor, 24 opposed [and] three abstaining,” Chebra said in the memo. “With this vote, the Lawrenceville SGA Senate has indicated that it is in favor of the proposal by Dean Campbell and encourages the swift implementation of the plan.”
Despite approval of the plan among Senate members, other Rider students were not too pleased with the possibility of the break becoming a reality.
“In my opinion, RAs have to be here later than everyone else as it is, and stretching it out until Christmas Eve would be pretty tough for us,” said junior Melissa Vidal, an RA. “I wouldn’t be in favor of it, because it would make our jobs a little more difficult, because it would conflict with our personal lives on a significant day.”

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