In an effort to restore stability to the student government, FUSA President Kevin Neubauer ’05 has filled in one of the positions recently vacated after three Cabinet members resigned in protest.

Katherine Petta ’05 has been named to replace Malu Gonzalez ’04 as Corresponding Executive immediately, though Petta does so without any of the training normally given for the position.

“I am honored to be given the chance to take on this role and am confident that with the help of Senate and the rest of the Executive Board we can accomplish all our goals,” said Petta, who will also retain her position as FUSA’s Senate Majority Leader.

Neubauer currently has no plans on filling the two remaining Cabinet positions.

“This late in the year, it would be a disservice to FUSA to pull people out of other places to fill these spots,” he said. “Instead, we will have senators joining in Executive Board meetings to help and everyone will step up in less official ways.”

Gonzalez and two other students resigned because of the abrupt firing of Director of Student Activities Donna Schimdt and an encounter with Associate Dean of Students Matt Dinnan where they claim he “lost control.” The trio felt like a complete breakdown in communication reduced FUSA’s ability to perform.

Petta does not share their views.

“I had no apprehensions about taking this job. I am just happy to take on the responsibility,” she said.

Petta also hopes to contact Gonzalez to help ease her transition into the role.

“I have not spoken with Malu yet, but I hope to talk to her about the job and get her input,” Petta said.

Gonzalez would be more than happy to help.

“No one had notified me she was given the position, but I think she’ll be great,” Gonzalez said. “She has been very involved in FUSA and I’d be happy to give her any advice if she contacts me.”

The recent flurry of activity came just days before Neubauer announced he will seek another term as the leader of Fairfield’s student government.

Meanwhile, Dean of Students Mark Reed steered clear of the controversy and would not say whether Dinnan was questioned about the incident last semester or about any possible sanctions Dinnan would face.

“I will not comment on matters related to employees of the university,” he said. “Moreover, there is a grievance process for students to utilize if they feel it necessary.”

However, Erin Fredericks ’04, the former External Exectuive Assistant who resigned last week, said she has tried to contact Reed to no avail.

“We called his office immediately after the incident occurred last December and again this week but he did not talk to us,” Fredericks said. She also said a meeting has been scheduled with Reed’s boss, Vice President of Student Services William Schimpf, to discuss the grievance process and investigate using it.

“I was not even aware of any grievance process,” Fredericks said. “This is exactly the kind of thing the Director of Student Activities could help explain, but they fired her and didn’t replace her, so we have to figure this out ourselves.”

At the very least, Fredericks hopes those involved offer some sort of public apology.

“The worst part about this whole ordeal is that neither Kevin nor Dinnan have offered any kind of apology or acknowledgment of our work,” she said. “Neither of them seems sorry that this happened at all.”

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