Rosenthal may leave after fall semester

College Council (CC) could find itself without co-President Mark Rosenthal ’03 this spring. Rosenthal intends to take a semester off to pursue an internship with the New England Patriots and play a final season of football next fall. While his plan has not yet been finalized, his possible absence, which he has anticipated for some time, would not have affected CC if the new constitution had passed.

If Rosenthal, who was elected in April along with Ho, can work out all the particulars of taking next semester off – which is an option that is available to all students – his replacement would be chosen by a two-thirds vote of CC. Rosenthal said Ching’s brother, Chin Ho ’04, the current CC secretary, would likely become the next co-president.

Before being elected co-president, Rosenthal served as the Class of 2003 representative, and made it clear to his running mate that it was his intention to forego the spring of the 2002-2003 school year in favor of graduating upon the completion of the fall 2003 semester.

This understanding and the political alliance borne out of it was based in large part on the presumed ratification of a new CC constitution on the ballot in last spring’s elections that would have moved the election days from April to a week or two after the start of the spring semester in February.

This motion, which was the brainchild of former CC co-presidents Joe Masters ’02 and Sarah Barger ’02, was not ratified, however, much to the surprise of Rosenthal and Ho:

“I told Ching that I would possibly be looking into taking the spring semester off,” Rosenthal said. “We didn’t think it was an issue because the new constitution was coming out and we ran on the expectation that it would pass; when it didn’t it was a surprise, but it all happened at the exact same time so there wasn’t really anything we could do about it.”

Since then, Rosenthal – prompted by Masters and Barger in the to-do list left for the incoming administration which featured the CC constitution as the first item of business among 20-some odd initiatives – has done what he could to get the constitution passed. However, his overtures have generally met with what he describes as an “unenthusiastic” response.

“I brought it up in the Council, but there’s not a lot of excitement about it,” Rosenthal said. “There are issues that come up week to week that the Council handles, and focusing on the constitution would take away from everything else and so it just sort of got lost in the shuffle.”

Though Rosenthal’s intention to take his senior spring off was implicit in the Rosenthal-Ho platform, news of the co-president’s decision to trade in the mantle of public service in favor of one last tour of duty with the football team may come as a surprise and a disappointment to many of the people who voted for him. Rosenthal, however, insists that he is not guilty of shirking his responsibility as elected CC co-president.

“I don’t feel that we’re letting anyone down,” he said. “After all, serving as co-President of CC entails a 52-week term and if I manage to get everything worked out so that I can take the semester off I would only be missing six of those 52 weeks.

“There’s always going to be work that I could be doing in that time, of course, and there’s always the possibility there would be projects lingering that I had been working on – but I feel that I could finish those up by working through Ching or someone else, such as an all-campus representative.”

The story behind Rosenthal’s current situation actually began in his first year at the College, in which he tore the AC joint in his right shoulder during a junior varsity football game, thereby ending his freshman campaign.

The idea that he might get in a fourth season of college football was instilled in him shortly after the injury, when speaking with then-captain John Barry ’99, who was himself a fifth-year captain.

Should Rosenthal gain approval for his plan to take the spring semester off – which is contingent upon approval from the financial aid office, the dean’s office and his coaches, none of whom he expected to cause him much trouble – it would not merely be a matter of athletics triumphing over public duty. Rosenthal has been offered an internship in the scouting department of the New England Patriots, which would give him valuable first-hand experience with the NFL draft.

The offer from the Patriots aside, Rosenthal, who is the youngest of 12 children, sees a fifth season of football as a possible vehicle for reuniting all of his family members.

Having his whole family together has become a rare occurrence given the responsibilities of his siblings, particularly those of a brother in the armed services who was recently reassigned to a base closer to Williamstown.

There is no definite timetable as of yet regarding when the matter will be resolved, but Rosenthal currently expects to have his plans finalized in the week or two before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“I have to wait and see if it’s all going to work out on my end,” Rosenthal said. “Nothing has officially been done or decided yet, all the particulars have to be worked out.”