Students and Alumni Weigh in on USGA Happenings

Liana Teixeira

Several highly contentious issues have sparked the interest of students and alumni at the University of New Haven in the past few weeks.

The two main topics that spread like wildfire across campus involved the Undergraduate Student Government Association’s (USGA) recent vote to recite the Pledge of Allegiance before starting each USGA meeting, and SCOPE’s open letter addressing their reduced budget and possible cutback on Spring Weekend.

The Pledge of


Shawn Tremblay, former USGA Executive Assistant and UNH class of 2012 graduate, returned to UNH on Oct. 26 for the weekly USGA meeting, and had many opinions on the matters at hand. “They never focus on the actual issue,” Tremblay said, referring to the lengthy debate that arose regarding the Pledge of Allegiance. “They just go on tangents.”

When the Pledge of Allegiance was conducted for the first time at the meeting, Tremblay did not feel comfortable standing. “It’s a private university. We are an adverse community. You’re representing a bigger community than what’s in that room,” he said. “You have to think about how your decisions are going to affect people.”

“This is the problem with USGA. Something big comes up and no one says anything. Then after the meeting, there’s an uproar,” said UNH alum and former USGA Treasurer Danielle Palladino. “I can’t believe college students…adults…are going around treating this in such an ignorant manner,” she continued.

USGA Senators Billy Sheehan and Connor Johnson also shared their experiences with the Pledge of Allegiance controversy. Prior to the pledge being approved by USGA Senators and House members, Sheehan said he was approached by several students about the issue.

“There are people who cannot make it here and would like to see more patriotism on campus,” Sheehan said. “It’s not just my views.”

“I feel that it is a more united way to start a meeting,” said Johnson. “It wasn’t meant to be such a catastrophic issue.”

Further suggestions were made at the Oct. 26 meeting to revisit the topic at a future time. “I think it’s worth it,” Johnson said when asked whether discussion should continue. “We definitely have to see both sides of the story.”


The open letter from SCOPE suggested that the organization may have to reallocate some of their funds to compensate for a lessened weekend events budget. Students and alumni possessed mixed views on the subject.

“You can’t just reallocate the funds,” Tremblay said. “They are the most influential organization on campus aside from USGA…They’re threatening the biggest event of the year.”

Palladino agreed. “Bad planning doesn’t constitute an emergency,” she said “Do a reassessment, reevaluate with careful planning, and take advantage of cosponsorship.” However, she does admit that the tagline on the written article did its job in drawing people in to read about SCOPE’s dilemma.

Freshman Nadine Northway also felt that SCOPE should have explored other options before addressing grievances in the Charger Bulletin.

“I feel that they should work on cutting tiny bits of the budget each week, so when it rolls over we’ll have enough for Spring Weekend,” Northway said. “Other clubs should also chip in too, since SCOPE helps out with their events.”

It is evident that current and former students have become interested in voicing their opinions on these hot topics of the fall semester.