Student Senate debates conflict of interest issue

first_imgIn its weekly meeting Wednesday night, the Student Senate voted to open the previously secret minutes from last week’s closed Senate meeting regarding allegations of misconduct against student body president Bryan Ricketts, a junior, which the Student Union Ethics Commission investigated.Junior Zach Waterson, president of Judicial Council and chair of the Ethics Commission, said the committee investigated Ricketts on two allegations of misconduct: infringement upon the rights and dignity of the allegation initiator — specifically, a lack of transparency with regard to appointments to the student government executive cabinet — and untimely presentation of a monetary gift to one who assisted in the campaign for student body president.In a statement after the Senate meeting, chief of staff Dan Sehlhorst, a junior, spoke to clarify the actions that led to allegations of misconduct. (Editor’s Note: Selhorst is a Viewpoint columnist for The Observer).“During the initial consideration of running for student body president, Bryan consulted with the initiator and indicated his interest that individual serve as chief of staff were he to win the election,” Sehlhorst said. “In the midst of the campaign, Bryan had concerns about the potential for the individual to lead a large staff and serve as a core member of the team.“He realized that he needed to reconsider automatically offering the position to the individual. After the election, Bryan and Nidia conducted a search process based on recommendations from current and former members of the Student Union and individual applications. They concluded this process by offering me the position.”Sehlhorst said the initiator received a $20 gift card from Ricketts after the election for his or her help with the campaign; other members of the Ricketts-Ruelas campaign staff received the same gift for their work, he said. The Ethics Commission did not find that this action was a violation, Selhorst said.At the closed meeting last week, the Ethics Commission, which can only advise Senate on how to respond to allegations of misconduct, presented four recommendations on how to proceed, Waterson said. The first two of these recommendations dealt specifically with the misconduct:“The Student Senate shall refer the Student Body President to the Student Government Advisor or an appropriate mediating administrator to hold discussion with the allegation initiator in order to improve his ability to balance personal relationships with Student Union duties and thus better serve as Student Body President.“The Student Senate shall draft a resolution to prohibit the practice of presenting gifts to individuals to reward assistance rendered during a campaign, appointment or selection which could present an ethical dilemma.”The remaining recommendations dealt with another issue that arose during the investigation: sophomore Danny Funaro is the gender issues department director as well as the historian of PrismND. According to Sehlhorst, the initiator of the complaint claimed Ricketts had known there was concern over a potential conflict of interest arising from the fact that Funaro currently holds both positions but failed to mention it to the Senate when Funaro was confirmed by the group.According to Waterson, the Ethics Committee recommended the following on this topic:“The Student Senate shall examine Section 1.3 (c) of the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body and the way it encompasses the offices within the Student Union special interest organizations. This clause should be adjusted to mandate the examination of potential conflicts of interest that may arise when an individual holds both an office within the Student Union and an office within a Student Union special interest group, such as between the Department of Gender Issues and PrismND.“The Student Senate shall hold discussion with PrismND on the topic of Danny Funaro simultaneously holding the positions of Department of Gender Issues director and PrismND historian.”Due to the latter recommendation, Senate opened discussion during this week’s meeting on whether Funaro would be allowed to keep his student government position.President of PrismND Lily Crawford, a junior, said this is a conflict of interest because the two organizations Funaro represents have specific initiatives that do not coincide.“The conflict of interest lies in the fact that PrismND’s mission and the mission of student government are different and the fact that in having both positions you cannot inherently untie yourself from one when you’re acting in another,” she said.Funaro said Crawford had previously asked him to choose one position because of this perceived conflict of interests, but he did not.“I came to the conclusion that there was not a conflict of interests, due to the duties of each position not conflicting with one another, and therefore I chose not to choose between the two,” Funaro said.Selhorst said there wasn’t a conflict of interest due to the differences in the structures of PrismND and student government.“Right now, we’re talking about a pastoral mission — PrismND — and a policy mission — student government, and typically conflict of interest is considered when they’re the same and when you could be giving that benefit to another group that you’re in that you wouldn’t be giving to another group. In choosing our staff, we saw that any potential to give that benefit to PrismND was far outweighed by the prospective it provided. Danny wouldn’t be the final decision maker on items, so there wouldn’t necessarily be that risk.”Discussion specific to Funaro’s potential conflict of interest was tabled for next week.Waterson presented a resolution to avoid future concerns for conflict of interest, which the Senate passed. Resolution SS1516-07 will require nominators to make any proposed conflict of interests known to the Senate during the approval process and clarifies the purpose of the Student Union Ethics Commission.“The subcommittee feels these are both steps in the right direction toward a stronger Student Union,” Waterson said. Tags: Bryan Ricketts, ethics violation, PrismND, Student government, student programming, student senatelast_img read more

Game-winning goal bumps up Syracuse to No. 6 in national poll

first_img Published on March 6, 2017 at 12:10 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturco A game-winning goal with 15 seconds left has pushed Syracuse (3-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) back up in the rankings to No. 6 in Inside Lacrosse’s Top 20 poll. SU previously ranked No. 10.For the third straight week, the Orange relied on a second-half surge to keep the game close. Each game, a goal in the final 15 seconds decided SU’s fate. This time, the final blow to ACC rival and then-No. 9 Virginia came from Sergio Salcido.The redshirt senior finished with a pair of goals and three assists even though he has been “banged up,” SU head coach John Desko said.“It’s hard to go out after not having some good runs during the week and play game day,” Desko said. “That’s a lot to ask of him.”Junior midfielder Matt Lane and sophomore attack Nate Solomon bounced back after rough performances over the last few games. Lane had only two points to his name prior to Sunday but scored a hat trick and notch two assists against the Cavaliers.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSolomon was quiet after his four-goal performance in the season opener against Siena, stringing together only an assist in the past two games. But, against Virginia, he had three goals and a pair of assists. After saving just four shots in the first half, goalie Evan Molloy saved eight in the second half, en route to the 14-13 win.All five ACC teams are ranked in the poll that was released Monday: No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 6 Syracuse, No. 11 Virginia and No. 18 Duke.Syracuse will hit the road for the first time all year, taking on unranked St. John’s on Saturday at 1 p.m.  St. John’s is coming off its first win of the season, a 13-12 nail-biter at Siena, a team SU smoked in the season opener.The Red Storm has been outscored 65-37 and ranks outside of the top 50 in scoring offense and defense. The team is led by twins Mike and Joe Madsen, who both have five goals on the year. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Mother of 6 dies days after eye removed

first_imgDead: Sunita VandykeSunita Vandyke, the mother of six who recently lost her eye weeks after giving birth at the Suddie Hospital in Region 2, has died.She died on Friday at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), two days after being referred there from the Leonora Hospital in Region 3 because of the severity of her condition.Vandyke’s family members are alleging that the GPHC had done nothing to save her. Her mother-in-law, Phyllis Carter, told Guyana Times on Sunday that after Vandyke had been admitted to the GPHC on Wednesday, she had received no treatment at the hospital.“She was left to die there. They never looked in her direction. Other patients in the ward told us that the doctors never even checked on her. They plugged needles in her head, strapped her down to the bed, and left her to die. She was treated like an animal, and no one is telling us anything; no explanation, no cause of death or anything,” Carter said.Carter is calling on the authorities to investigate this matter, which had caused her young, healthy daughter-in-law to deteriorate in health until her demise over the course of a few weeks.“This is a clear picture of how the public health systems work. They had no care, no interest in her condition. They feel that because it’s free, people begging them for a service. They are being paid to do their job!” the distraught woman declared.Vandyke had been admitted at the Suddie Hospital on the Essequibo Coast in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) for several weeks, after doctors at the Georgetown Public Hospital had removed one of her eyes without any proper explanation, although she had never had any medical complication with her eye.Relatives reaching out to Guyana Times on Tuesday last, in calling for a full investigation into the incident, are alleging that Vandyke had been admitted at the Suddie Hospital to give birth, but everything had gone ‘downhill’ after her delivery.Carter told this publication that Vandyke had delivered a healthy baby at the Suddie Hospital some seven weeks ago; but after the birth of the baby, Vandyke had gone home to her Parika residence and had started to complain of feeling unwell. She had been taken to the Parika Health Centre, where the nurses had administered saline. After receiving the saline, she had started complaining of blurred vision.“As soon as she get the saline, and we go home, she started complaining (of having problems) with the eye,” Carter said.She explained that after her daughter-in-law had continued to complain about having blurred vision, she had taken her to the Leonora Cottage Hospital, from where doctors had transferred her to the West Demerara Regional Hospital.However, she had taken Vandyke to the GPHC after the eye problem had worsened and Vandyke’s condition had deteriorated. “We meet GPHC Emergency (Department) with the eye draining inflammation and the nose bleeding, and they said, ‘That’s not an emergency’. And we waited several hours, and were sent away without seeing a doctor.“I even went to the boss upstairs to complain that we were not getting to see a doctor, and still we could [not] get help; we were sent away,” Carter said.The frustrated Carter related that she had then visited the Public Health Ministry to lodge a complaint, and had been directed to the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, and then to the Eye Clinic at GPHC. When they arrived at the clinic, the doctors had quickly admitted Vandyke for surgery to remove the eye.“Just so, they say they gotta take out the eye. GPHC and West Dem (hospitals) sabotage my daughter-in-law! They did nothing to help! They never even checked the eye, and we need answers! This girl never had any eye problem!” Carter contends.Vandyke’s condition had gotten worse, to the point where she had been unable to walk, and had stopped speaking. Since the incident, she had been in and out of hospital, and had been unable to care for her newborn. She had again been taken to the Leonora Cottage Hospital on Monday last, but due to the severity of her condition, had been referred to the GPHC. She died at the GPHC on Friday last.Carter is calling for a full investigation of this matter. She contends that Vandyke’s medical record would show that she had never suffered from any medical or eye condition.Attempts to contact officials from GPHC for a comment proved futile.last_img read more