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GRCC Student Congress disbanded

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Grand Rapids Community College Student Congress has voted to disband until further notice, a decision that took place in the wake of recent disciplinary removal of former Budget Director Anthony Provenzano and the grievance hearing of former Vice President Jeffrey Noel.

According to the press release sent by Student Congress on Friday, the Student Life office will handle the club budget, and the former executive board will remain compensated as they “lead a program review process that will engage any interested students and other college stakeholders to look at the current framework and structure of Student Congress.”

Former Parliamentarian Ross L. Pike declined to comment on the decision, referring to the last line of the release that says executive board members “decline for comment or interview until the meeting on Thursday.”

The decision was made days after former Budget Director Anthony Provenzano was placed on probation and removed from his position after sending what were perceived as threatening emails to administrators and fellow executive board members.

The line from the email sent on Sept.17 that Provenzano says was misconstrued was, “This will end soon, one way or another,” which was referring to Provenzano’s extreme distaste toward the actions of Jeffrey Noel, the recently recalled Student Congress vice president.

“Comments of a threatening nature made by a student directed to any member of our campus community would be addressed through the colleges’s Code of Conduct system, information on which can be found at grcc.edu/studentconduct. However, any specific case in the system is confidential and we can not comment,” said Raul Alvarez, Director of Communications, in an email.

Provenzano said he met with John Cowles, associate dean of counseling, advising and retention services a day after the emails were sent.

“I’ve been put on disciplinary probation (for one year),” Provenzano said. “They found me guilty of harassment, threatening behavior, and bullying.” These actions are violations of GRCC’s Student Code of Conduct.

He said he was released from his duties as budget director for breaking the constitution’s requirement of a Student Congress member to maintain good social standing.

Provenzano sent the email after he learned Jeffrey Noel was circulating a petition to recall Chaka White, Student Congress President.

The reason Noel circulated a petition is because he believes White’s decisions are being influenced by Pike.

Noel’s circulation of the petition to recall White followed his own recall on Sept. 2, a process that started with a petition signed by White and other executive board members.

Noel’s recall was based on what the constitution defines as a “misuse of power.” The process began after he sent an email to Student Congress Parliamentarian Ross Pike asking him to resign.

Noel filed an appeal of the decision, and his case is being heard by Tina Hoxie, dean of Student Affairs, and the grievance committee she appointed. The hearing was held last week, and a decision has yet to be announced.

Noel says no one has been in contact with him about his case or his standing now that Student Congress has disbanded.

“I don’t really know what’s going on,” Noel said.

Even if Noel is allowed to be part of the review process, he disagrees with former executive board members receiving stipends even after the group was disbanded.

“I don’t think the students should get paid for something they’re not really doing,” he said.