Fairfield University Student Association Senators Mike Meehan ’08 and Jamie Abromaitis ’09 led a meeting Thursday night in front of a dozen concerned students to address the Student Life Committee’s decision to take action on the Off-Campus Boarder lottery issue.

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Initially, the committee, a group within the FUSA Senate said that they would host a protest on incoming student’s day.

In the public open forum, Meehan said he suggests “a possible change of meeting date, given that the Incoming Students’ Day would be targeting the admissions,” as well as an alternative to a protest. Abromaitis reflected FUSA’s more cautious standpoint on the possible protest. “We do want to make a statement but we don’t want to burn bridges,” she said.

She suggested a more professional approach in passing out information instead of a protest, in fear that such a public assembly could become disorderly and, thus, counterintuitive to the group’s intents.

“We don’t want admissions to feel like they are the target of this,” she said.

Ashley Close ’08, vice chair of FUSA Senate, said that the committee suggested a protest on Incoming Students’ Day because it believed holding a demonstration on this day would receive greater attention from administration; however, the committee wanted incoming students to know that it still has a strong love for Fairfield University even though its members hold strong feelings about the Off-Campus Boarder policies and process.

“We don’t want to be airing out our dirty laundry in front of incoming students,” said Close.

Senate Chair Tim Rich ’08 said he puts his “full support behind Mike and Jamie.”

In an e-mail given to The Mirror by incoming Senate Chair Dan Lamendola ’09, Rich expressed his concern about the actions taking by the committee, and the consequences FUSA must now face as a result of The Mirror’s Tuesday night newsbreak on the possible protest.

“We are now painted into corner, because there has been a meeting scheduled without any corners,” wrote Rich. “I stand firmly in the belief that I’ve always held; I’d rather lose faith with those in the administration than with students.”

Rich did endorse other means of protest, however.

Rich suggested that FUSA members supply volunteer students of the protest with buttons or stickers, field a team of people to place fliers on cars and have at least 20 students picket in high traffic area of campus.

“If there were to be an impact made, that would be the day to hold it,” Rich said.

Close wrote in an e-mail that she was, “surprised to hear that [Senate] was going through with this.”

She said in the future, ideas like this should be discussed in the general assembly meeting.

Spencer Thibodeau ’10, former candidate for FUSA president, agreed.

“FUSA got themselves into this by telling The Mirror and releasing the information, [while the planning] should have been done behind closed doors,” he said.

Kaity Noone ’08, co-chair of the Senate Student Life Committee, agreed with Thibodeau about the early release of information.

“You are right, we should have discussed it amongst ourselves first,” she wrote. “I do agree with you that I do not like the way this has exploded.”

This action comes after the recent visit of Felipe Polanco ’01 on Sunday about the hunger strike of which he participated to unionize Pritchard workers during his enrollment at Fairfield.

Polanco was asked by FUSA Advisor Caroline Joy to speak to the FUSA Senate in particular, but the discussion was open to everyone.

“I think sometimes students don’t realize the potential they have,” Close said, in response to a question asked on Polanco’s presence. “After we graduate, the issue could still go on.”

Meehan said that the University “teaches us to work hard and get involved.” He went on to say that if he was an admitted student and saw students this involved, he would be excited to come here.

Steve Liguori ’09, a former FUSA presidential candidate and current senator, said it was refreshing to hear Polanco’s talk because it was somebody in the same position that the current members of FUSA are in.

Liguori spoke in favor of the April 12 date, as he believes it will “say something” if held on such a day of importance to the University.

An audience member brought up a possibility of holding it during a board of trustees meeting, to which they were told that none remain during the current school year.

Hutch Williams ’08,FUSA President said, “It is my strong belief that action should be taken to bring attention to this issue.”

“Every class will have students that want to go off-campus their senior year and the current problems in the OCB lottery is one of the biggest issues facing students,” said Williams. “This issue is part of the overall housing problems.” FUSA Senate is expected to set a date for the action during the Senate meeting on Sunday at 6 p.m. in the School of Nursing Auditorium. This meeting will be open to the public.

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