Office places Granato on probation
After a daylong hearing held on College Avenue, Cabo Granato, president of the Newark College of Arts and Sciences Student Government Association, was found guilty on charges of harassment toward a University dean.
Granato, a Newark College of Arts and Sciences senior, was charged with disorderly conduct as well as bullying, intimidation and harassment after a confrontational discussion he had with Clayton Walton, the associate dean of Student Life on the Newark Campus.
The charges were filed through the Student Conduct and Ethical Development office.
Although he faced possible expulsion, Granato is likely to only be placed under probation until the date of his graduation, which is at the end of this semester, said Matt Cordeiro, president of the Rutgers University Student Assembly.
“It is basically a warning,” said Cordeiro, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “If he does something again, he might get into more trouble, but he should graduate before that.”
The hearing was closed to the public, but Cordeiro was able to attend to testify as a character witness for Granato.
Granato appealed the decision to be put under probation and said the verdict is not yet finalized.
“There is no sanction just yet,” he said.
Walton refused to comment on the case.
Granato’s quarrel with Walton occurred when he approached the dean after finding nearly $3,000 in undocumented deductions from NCAS-SGA funds. After Granato questioned Walton, the dean responded in an aggressive manner, asking the student if he wanted to “step off campus and settle it that way,” Granato said.
Newark College of Arts and Sciences junior John Swift, a member of the student government association, witnessed the altercation and confirmed that Walton had made allusions to physically fighting Granato.
Walton pressed charges against Granato following the meeting, saying Granato’s “nasty” and “abrasive” behavior intimidated him.
Before the hearing began, nearly 20 protesters stood together outside, making signs with slogans such as “administration, stop the intimidation,” and “why don’t we take this off campus?”
Among the protesters was Joe Cashin, RUSA corresponding secretary, who said he attended the protest to show his support for Granato.
“[Granato] is a smart individual, and he really cares about Rutgers-Newark students and students across the state of New Jersey,” said Cashin, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Cashin said he expected the hearing to be open to the public and hopes the University becomes more transparent in the future.
“I’ve read articles and I’ve heard Cabo’s side, and that’s the only side that I’m hearing because the University administration has been giving no comment about the situation,” he said.
Cashin said the University’s unwillingness to comment has possibly obscured some of the public opinion on the case, but he understands that both parties must agree to a public hearing under the University’s policy.
“As a concerned student who would like to know what actually happened, I would like to see more transparency from the University administration,” he said. “I think it should have been an open hearing.”
Granato said the hearing was closed despite his request to the contrary because his accuser would not agree to hold the hearing publicly.
The case went on for a full day before the hearing was adjourned and the guilty verdict was passed down, Cordeiro said.
“It took 12 hours, but Cabo was OK,” he said.