Letter to the Editor

By CJ Jenkins

I was shocked, happy and disappointed in your current Editor’s Note.

I sat on the SGA last year as a Senator-at-Large and as the Security Liaison. I was witness to the events in question that caused the current SGA to discuss their media ban during meetings. I know the two former senators in question quite well. After reading how the SGA (along with the reporting of the paper) has been acting, I can no longer allow two students to get (somewhat) publicly trashed.

Labeling these two students as “bullies” by both the SGA and The Chronicle is unfair-especially since no one (the previous, the current SGA E-board, The Chronicle or the administration)-asked these two, who I will dub as Murdock and Nelson, why they were taping the meetings to begin with. If anyone asked, they would have given you an extremely valid reason-none of which related to the SGA or the other organization that former President Brian Matos referred to.

Former President Matos neglected to mention something, which is the fact that, yes, SGA members are voluntary and nothing is earned from it. That is, unless you are a member of the E-board, in which you receive a small stipend per the SGA Constitution.

Also, the footage was never given nor shown to the SEIU.

I would also like to point out, as a film student, I can testify to anyone that the footage was not edited. While they were filming, no one asked them to turn off the camera, nor was the camera hidden (it was in plain view on the table). The camera was never moved to “manipulate” anyone. It was only moved on a pivot to show the person who was speaking.

So for those senators who feel they were being ridiculed-that was by no manipulation of the taping, that was by your own doing.

While the SGA may be praised to accommodate the freedom of the press, they are ignoring and discrediting students who were using their rights to freedom of speech?

The two students in question, ones who volunteered for their positions, were two of a handful who actually took the position seriously. They tried to help as many students as they could, if the students were in their department or not. They were willing to call people to the floor to question them and gather more information before voting on behalf of the student body. They voted against things that passed that they believed hurt students. Sometimes, they were the only “Nay” votes. Did they care how it was going to affect them 10 years from now? No, they were concerned for the students.

By this point, new members are probably hearing second- and third-hand accounts, which even still are inaccurate (in part because no one has talked to Murdock and Nelson) and had to make an “informed” decision. What if I, as a random student, wanted to take notes to correctly quote someone for a paper I was writing for class? By putting this policy into effect, the SGA has furthered their hypocrisy by creating a policy that goes against Columbia as a whole.

With the way technology is, I could probably tape a whole meeting on my smart phone or iPod. Is the SGA going to be doing strip searches before every meeting now?

The Chronicle (thank you) has reported about security breaches in the 1104 center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., and of course now, Dr. Carter’s budget memo. Why is the SGA wasting time on something so trivial? What happened with all the security concerns that I brought to the senate’s attention last year? Nothing. What about the course fee explanation that the SGA has been waiting for years to get from the administration?

Stop wasting your time. If you can’t take the heat now from your peers-whether their criticism is constructive or not-are you going to survive as a media maker? You may want to have a political career after leaving here. Great, good for you. But if you are worried that stuff you say now may ruin you 10 years from now, then you should stop and think about your actions. Either that, or stop now, and spare yourself from being “ridiculed.” This policy doesn’t protect senators, it shelters them from the real world.

I thank The Chronicle for pointing out the hypocrisy of this year’s E-board and SGA members who passed this policy through. This is the exact reason why I couldn’t go back to the SGA. I just ask in the future, you get all the facts first.

Tessana Nemenski


Film & Video