“Dining With the Doc”: TJ SGA meets with Dr. Bonitatibus


Irina Lee

Image courtesy of SGA.

Andrew Chen, Staff Writer

The Student Government Association (SGA) had its most recent monthly meeting with Dr. Bonitatibus on Dec. 4, discussing policy changes on three topics: summer assignments, the retake policy, and the 3.0 GPA rule. Definitive steps were taken on the topic of summer assignments and beginning this school year, summer homework will no longer be mandatory. However, the retake policy remains unchanged and unstandardized across the school and there has not been a conclusive decision on the 3.0 GPA removal policy.

Meetings with the principal are nothing new; they have been around since Dr. Glazer was principal. However, meetings now only occur once a month under Dr. Bonitatibus’s administration, as opposed to once a week as had been the system before. By giving students less opportunities to voice their opinions, this change may have opened a larger divide between students and the administration.

“Since Dr. B arrived, she seems to be taking a less interactive approach. The concept of voicing student concerns and our positions on policy issues has remained the same, but there is less access to the administration than in years past.” Neil Kothari, the 2018-2019 SGA President, said.

Even so, the SGA is committed to voicing student concerns over pressing issues. In fact, many of the topics brought up at the meetings are raised by students themselves, who can reach out to the SGA via Facebook, email, or by talking in person.

“The suggestions for policy changes are usually from students. We carefully craft a list of issues and solutions before each meeting so that we can maximize the quality of the discussion and the number of issues brought up,” Kothari said. “Students can be more involved by coming to any of our meetings. They’re all open to the student body and our calendar can be found on the SGA website.. We definitely want students’ opinions to be a part of the conversation.”

Although concrete decisions made by these monthly meetings are few and far between, the few policy changes made, such as the recent announcement for removing mandatory summer assignments, seem to resonate well within the student community.

“Even though there haven’t been many solutions to important issues yet, I stand behind the decision to remove summer assignments, since there’s so many other things we should be doing in the summer rather than homework,” Ritesh Shrivastav, a sophomore said.

Recently, the SGA has structured the meetings to be more focused on specific topics and smaller issues, rather than much broader topics such as mental wellness and student integrity.

“In the past, in my opinion, these lunch meetings have been ineffective. The tendency was always to discuss topics too big to fix in a 40 minute lunch meeting and sometimes even an entire school year. As a result, SGA is directing its attention to smaller issues going forward, such as summer assignments, retakes, and workload.” Kothari said.

Hopefully, in the future, we can see more changes to create a better learning environment.