President's Report Masthead
June 30, 2015

Student Affairs

Senior Days

Stepping on the Coat
Jonathan Cohen
The annual Stepping on the Coat to ward off winter was held during Spring Fling.

First-ever Senior Days was a success. We kicked things off in February with a “100 Days” celebration where students could begin their countdown by speaking to offices and taking care of steps to ensure a successful future, as well as have fun taking pictures and winning prizes. “Happy Office Hours” was an event where students could invite professors to come and have one last drink with them and offer them advice as they enter the post-graduation world. “Cheers to Commencement” was a brunch for senior students where they could sign their class banner. We handed out cupcakes at the Bookstore for cap and gown pick-up. Seniors were able to fill out a postcard to their parents, thanking them for all of their support during their time at Binghamton. “Senior Dinner Cruise” took about 115 seniors to Seneca Lake for an elegant evening. Senior Days ended with the Bearcat BBQ on the Peace Quad. Senior Days was a collaboration between Campus Activities, the Bookstore, Student Affairs, the Student Association, the Senior Class Council, Off Campus College Council and the Student Philanthropy Committee.

Spring events

The Student Association and Campus Activities partnered once again this year to present the annual Spring Fling Carnival and Outdoor Concert on May 2, a week before finals, to the largest crowd in Spring Fling history. Saying goodbye to the winter weather, the “Stomping of the Coat” tradition was enthusiastically cheered for at the beginning of the concert, which featured national acts “Bad Rabbits,” “Sage the Gemini” and “The White Panda.”

  • For the fifth year in a row, the students also enjoyed another end-of-year annual tradition – the Library Rave. For 15 minutes, students danced and jumped to electronic music in a quick stress-relieving party by the loading dock under the library while Student Association members provided snacks and energy drinks.
  • Moefest, sponsored by WHRW, was held on the Peace Quad the last day of classes with many musical acts highlighted during the afternoon and “How to Dress Well” as the headliner.
  • The Student Association and Dean of Students Office Gala, a Leadership Awards ceremony aimed to recognize individual undergraduate, graduate and student organizations with various achievements, was held May 7. Students were nominated or self-nominated; each application was reviewed by a committee consisting of faculty, staff and students and recipients for each of the awards were decided. The ceremony celebrated our students and 12 awards were given throughout the evening by University staff, the dean of students, the vice president for student affairs and President Harvey Stenger.

Diversity training

The Division of Student Affairs Division is committed to ensuring that all staff receives Cultural Competency Training. Through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, 158 staff have already participated in the training. There are several additional trainings scheduled and will continue until all Student Affairs staff have completed it.

Code of Conduct changes

The Binghamton University Council approved revisions to the Code of Student Conduct for the 2015-16 academic year. This year, students collaborated with staff to do a comprehensive review of the code, including incorporation of the new SUNY policies and definitions for sexual misconduct.  The Code of Student Conduct Review Team began meeting in September 2014, charged by Vice-President for Student Affairs Brian Rose and Dean of Students April Thompson, to engage the University community in a comprehensive review of the Code of Student Conduct. Priorities for the review included to:

  • ensure that the code allows for increased opportunities for student voice in the student conduct process, including the possibility of students resolving lower-level cases.
  • ensure compliance with requirements set forth under the Violence Against Women Act as well as SUNY mandates.
  •   reduce the due process and administrative requirements for addressing lower-level cases, recognizing that lower-level cases do not require the same degree of procedural due process as is required when addressing higher-level cases.
  • infuse statements of community standards and values throughout the document to provide a context for understanding and applying the code.
  • more clearly define Disciplinary Warning and Disciplinary Probation, including a clearer distinction between the two.
  • establish a single standard of evidence as the basis for deciding all cases.
  • produce a document that is clear, understandable and user-friendly using gender inclusive language.

The team met regularly throughout the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters, beginning its work by reviewing the preamble as a springboard for discussion about community values. As clarity was brought to these values and standards, the preamble was reworked and subsequently emerged as the philosophical foundation against which proposed changes would be tested. The team ultimately conducted a line-by-line review of the entire code, guided by the statement of community values set forth in the preamble, the priorities outlined above and community input. Community input and engagement in the process was achieved by offering members of the community a number of opportunities and methods by which to have voice into the process. These methods included:

  • Hosting two widely publicized open forums during which team members were present to elicit feedback from the community. These forums were moderated by committee co-chair Garrett Fitzgerald and were co-sponsored by the Student Association. During these forums, participants were afforded the opportunity to submit both verbal and written comments. Note takers were provided by the Student Association. Following the sessions, notes were distributed to team members. All input was reviewed and considered.
  • The Office of Student Conduct created a web form for members of the community to use to submit comments. This page was regularly monitored by the team and all comments were reviewed and considered.
  • An invitation to submit suggestions for changes to the code was widely distributed to various members of the University community, including student leaders, via e-mail. All proposed changes were reviewed and considered.
  • A list of demands submitted by Students for Change was reviewed and considered by the team. Additionally, Dean of Students April Thompson and committee co-chair Sue Briggs met with a group of representatives from Students for Change to discuss their concerns and suggestions related to the code.

2015 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence

Ten Binghamton University students were were recognized with the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence in April. The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement or career achievement. Each year, campus presidents establish a selection committee that reviews exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office and are subject to a second round of review. Each recipient receives a framed certificate and medallion, which is traditionally worn at commencement. This year’s recipients were Jennifer Bertollo, Mohammad Bishawi, Joshua Cohen, Leah Ferentinos, Raymond Futia, Luis Gonzalez, Don Greenberg, Dali Lu-Grobe, Justin Mulvaney and Stephanie Sheintul.

The Student Philanthropy Committee

The Student Philanthropy Committee (SPC) is a group of undergraduate students, under the Binghamton Fund, that is building a culture of philanthropy at Binghamton University. The SPC works with student groups and administration to increase undergraduate senior participation through the Seniors for the BingFund campaign, where students give back to the area of campus most meaningful to them. The committee’s goal is to provide future students with the exceptional experiences that they will be able to cherish forever. Gifts provide support for financial aid, career development and some of the other things not covered by tuition or the state. To create awareness of philanthropy and Seniors for the BingFund, the SPC promotes the benefits of giving at events including Homecoming and Tag Day as well as through the many Senior Days events that were held during the spring semester.

Incoming officers for the Student Association and the Graduate Student Organization

Elections were held in March for the Student Association E-board. The following students will serve for the 2015-2016 academic year:

  • Dillon Schade, president
  • Zachary Vigliani, executive vice president
  • Kate Tashman, vice president for finance
  • Amanda Baker, vice president for academic affairs
  • Bernadette Machuca, vice president for programming
  • Ruslan Klafehn, vice president for multicultural affairs

The Graduate Student Organization elected the following officers for the 2015-2016 academic year:

  • Shengsheng Zhou, a doctoral candidate in the Translation Research and Instruction Program (TRIP), president
  • Ben Marley, a seventh-year graduate student studying sociology, vice president
  • Sarah Marcus, graduate vice president of multicultural affairs