Rutgers University Student Assembly talks Medical Amnesty report, open source textbooks on Feb. 18


From improving commuter student life to the Milo Yiannopoulos event, last Thursday’s Rutgers University Student Assembly meeting addressed a number of issues.

Rutgers administrators were aware Yiannopoulos would be a controversial speaker and took measures to ensure community safety during the event, said Salvador Menna, associate vice chancellor at the University's Division of Student Affairs.

Menna said no University or club funds were used for the Yiannopoulos event, and any student organization can invite speakers who share their perspective to campus.

Menna said students have the choice of attending or not attending such events, and they also have the choice to protest these events. But he said students must understand the consequences of both hosting and protesting speakers.

The University must balance students’ rights to expression with the need to maintain a safe and civil environment. Menna said the school would only prevent a speaker from attending if they are deemed to pose a credible threat to the community.

Menna also fielded questions about snow day closings, recruitment for new student center coordinators and the taping of a swastika to the ceiling of a student’s apartment.

“I want to call on student leaders to hold themselves and the student body accountable,” said Matthew Panconi, president of RUSA and a Rutgers Business School senior, with regard to the swastika.

A Medical Amnesty report has just been completed and will be read over and voted on during the meeting on Feb. 25, said Justin Schulberg, RUSA Senate leader and a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

The Senate also traveled to Rutgers—Camden in February to meet with Chancellor Phoebe Haddon to discuss the "Resolution for RUSA to Support the Selling of Alcohol in Rutgers Athletic Stadiums," which Panconi believes will greatly influence alcohol safety on campus.

The New Jersey Public Interest Research Group’s pilot program to initiate the use of free open source online textbooks in courses was also discussed.

The program has received $12,000 in funding, and Rutgers professors are now being recruited to participate, enabling students to use online textbooks free of charge for select courses.

The Assembly is considering restructuring the way it allocates funds to student organizations, Panconi said. RUSA aims to expand upon the current 10-year-old allocation system in an effort to provide greater funding to student organizations.

“Right now clubs are short-funded, and it's not okay,” Panconi said.

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Gabriela Amaral is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. See more on Twitter @sentientfog.


Gabriela Amaral

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