Cynic and VSTEP get SGA censure

The SGA formally censured both the Cynic and the Vermont Student Environmental Program (VSTEP) at their meeting Oct. 29, following incidents that had occurred on recent trips taken by the organizations. SGA funds had been used to finance both trips.

The Cynic received their censure following an incident involving underage drinking that occurred while in New Orleans for the annual Associated Collegiate Press convention. 

Three underage members of the student newspaper were found to have consumed alcohol in public Oct. 23.

Six members of the Cynic had attended the convention with members of WRUV and UVMtv

President Connor Daley said he recommended the censure not to “place guilt” but to make a statement that the Cynic members’ violation of SGA and University policies was “not okay.”

“It was very disappointing to learn of this event especially given that it was during the course of a national media convention,” editor-in-chief Mike Eaton said. “As a news organization, we hold ourselves to a high standard and this does not reflect that.”

Eaton, who attended the convention but was not involved in the incident, said the newspaper’s executive staff is taking steps to “ensure that it does not happen again.”

VSTEP, an organization that focuses on coordinating environmental activities on Vermont campuses, received their sanction from SGA after marijuana was found in a scratched Hertz rental van following a trip to Pittsburgh taken by the organization, SGA President Connor Daley said.

VSTEP had taken around 60 people, both members and non-members, to Power Trip, a social activism convention Oct. 18. 

During an investigation by SGA, a student who is not a member of VSTEP who had attended the trip admitted that the drugs belonged to them and subsequently apologized, Daley said.

The club was put on indefinite suspension during the investigation but is now taken off due to the vote to censure the group.

As part of the consequences, the student will be referred to the Center for Student Ethics and Standards. 

Other consequences suggested by  SGA include VSTEP’s driving privileges be rescinded until the end of the semester, the group receive some type of alcohol education, the repayment for fueling and cleanup to Hertz and a five percent deduction from next year’s allocated budget, the censure document stated.

VSTEP also proposed a self-imposed ticket of $100-$200 as a part of punishment.

The bills approved by SGA sanctioning both clubs called for Drug and Alcohol counselors at the University to speak publicly at both clubs future meetings.