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Personal Conflict Arises During Student Association Session

By Shawn Ness and Vince Gasparini | September 18, 2023

Jacob Velasquez (center left), Timothy Goldsmith (right)

Photo Credit: Shawn Ness / ASP

The University at Albany’s Student Association (SA) met on Wednesday, Sept. 13 and what originally was expected to have been a light meeting was interrupted during the meeting’s public comment section.

The now-newly elected Senator Dylan Klein brought up an Instagram story posted by Law and Government Senator Selwa Khan. Khan’s post was directed at members of the student body who are running for open seats in SA on the platform of Title IX reform.

“There are SO many other issues on camp[us] y’all can be addressing instead of jumping on a lil bandwagon because it’s giving performative,” the Instagram post reads. “Everyone and their momma running for Senate having one of their policy platforms be [sic] ‘reform Title IX’ can come put respect on my name because half of y’all were making it harder for me to pass [Title IX reform] to begin with, wouldn’t know how Title IX works or what reforms need to be made if it slapped you in the face, probs wouldn’t put the time in to learn because almost everyone running on that platform hasn’t talked to me about what they wanna do or how they wanna do it or even ask what next steps should be, and are also supporters of known abusers and apologists. Y’all just wanna profit off my labor.”

“Someone in this body made a comment about candidates running that had to ask another Senator for permission. That is not how the world works,” Klein said, as he began reading Webster's dictionary definition of defamation of character. “Defamation of character isn’t cool.”

After that public comment, SA moved on to their Campus Climate Discussion, where Senator Khan brought up her Instagram post, “Thank you to everyone in this body for blowing up my Instagram post.”

Khan went on to say how other members of this body have benefitted from blindspots in the Title IX program. “I am not committing defamation of character because I’m not naming names,” Khan said. “I know what’s up. You probably all know what’s up too.”

Senator Ethan Madappatt put forth a motion to move back to public comment, the motion passed 10 to six, with three Senators abstaining from the vote. Senator Khan voted against opening back up public comments.

“Your post blew me out of the water,” one member of the public who declined to be named said to Senator Khan. “There have been Senators that have dropped out of SA because it is a toxic environment. Women don’t have to be toxic to survive in this body. I see the actions of others to make everything about themselves; it’s corny as hell, and you all need to take this stuff seriously. People are counting on you, don’t let the student body down.”

Both Klein and the other commenter were reprimanded for their use of the word “hell” and were both reminded to not address Senators directly during public comment.

At this time, both Senator Khan and Senate Chair Erin McGrath stepped out of the room, leaving Law and Government Senator Jalen Miller to preside over the remainder of the meeting.

Before SA was able to carry on with the rest of its agenda, Humanities Senator Timothy Goldsmith objected to the return to public comment. Newly-confirmed Director of Student Group Affairs Faith Archer addressed the Senators and Executives of the body, reminding them that they all agreed to a student code of conduct and should “carry yourselves appropriately,” and to watch what they say when they are in this body.

President Jalen Rose reminded all Senators that there are resources on campus like Middle Earth if they have problems, or to come to him when there are problems between Senators.

Anjalee Modasra, Acting Chair of the Elections Commission announced her numbers for the upcoming SA election that concluded this week. For Colonial Quad, there were four candidates, two for Dutch Quad, four for State Quad, three for Indigenous Quad, three for Empire Commons, zero for Liberty Terrace, 11 for off-campus, one for first-year candidate, and 13 for University Council Representatives.

Rose continued into his Presidential report, in which he gave a shout-out to Sean Millington for his recent appointment as Director of Civic and Community Engagement. Vice President Amelia Crawford announced that they are looking for volunteers for the upcoming Dippifest at Dippikill. Comptroller Jason Lisciandro stated in his report that the application for assistant comptroller is still open on MyInvolvement.


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