Brooklyn College Democrats Clash With CLAS President in Effort to Register Club
FEBRUARY 25, 2014
By David Beltran
From the Excelsior blog http://bcexcelsior.com/brooklyn-college-democrats-clash-with-clas-president-in-effort-to-register-club/
With only hours to spare before the deadline for student clubs to register, the Brooklyn College Democrats Club held their first elections Friday and officially registered as a new club after weeks of conflict with CLAS President David Rosenberg.
“For two months we’ve been trying really hard to get started,” said John Wasserman, a junior and the founder of the BC Democrats. “CLAS has given us a real tough time.”
The elections followed weeks of uncertainty over whether the club would be able to fulfill the requirements for registration. Wasserman said he began working on forming the club before the winter intersession and had submitted eight drafts of a constitution for the club before receiving approval Thursday from Rosenberg, who reviews clubs’ constitutions and approves them.
Rosenberg said he was prepared to sign the constitution by the end of Lincoln’s birthday, but then received a different constitution that had removed the secretary position—which he said is against policy for new clubs—after a founding member had left the club.
“In this case I have no qualms about saying that the reason the BCD [Brooklyn College Democrats] constitution took so long to get through was because of the drafters’ incompetence, mixed with a certain amount of stubbornness,” Rosenberg said. “The fact that there was an internal power struggle during the drafting process also played a role in the delay.
Friday morning, Rosenberg published a post on Facebook where he, presumably under the impression that the club would not register, said that he found out that the club wouldn’t be able to register because “the founders failed to do something very simple—executive training,” and that “maybe next semester a more committed group of students will take it on.”
“It wasn’t easy and there were many obstacles in our way, but we were committed,” Wasserman said, “even up until the registration deadline we still had to deal with obstacles, and David Rosenberg was one of those of those obstacles.”
Rosenberg said that he has reviewed over 50 club constitutions this year, and that only a handful were signed off on the first try, with only two denied charter.
“This was the only incident in 18 plus months in CLAS in which it seemed that the students [BCD members] submitting the constitution wanted to fight with me over the constitution,” he said, “rather than have it chartered.”
Wasserman said he was going to run for president of the club but couldn’t after he had missed executive training, which was rescheduled after a snow storm. So he turned to Edward Cerna, with whom he had been working “since day one,” and asked him to be president.
Cerna, who had completed executive training, was elected as president and said the club presents an opportunity to connect students with alumni and participate in democratic activities. He said the club has already contacted Public Advocate Letitia James to try and get her to speak to students at Brooklyn College. Cerna cites Bill Clinton’s 1994 visit to BC as inspiration that the BCD can make these visits a reality.
“We were told we could not conduct change,” he said. “Today, students can look at our club and see what we started and realize it’s possible to be able to be an agent of change.”
Cerna said he also wants to inform students about the political process and let them know that “politics goes beyond casting a ballot.”
Glomani Bravo-Lopez, President of the Veterans Affairs club and treasurer of BC Democrats, was a member of the Marines from 2005 to 2009 and said one of the main reasons he joined was to engage veterans on campus.
The BC Democrats held their first event Sunday when they held a phone bank for City Counselor Domenic Recchia at Wasserman’s home. Wasserman said the club already has many events on their schedule.
Despite a rocky start with Rosenberg, the club said they’re hoping to work with CLAS student government and any other students who may be interested in joining the club.
Excelsior and Kingsman article we like and get permission to post will be on the folder on top of the blog.