At the final Senate meeting of the 31st administration on March 26, Student Government Association executives addressed the TKE incident and resident assistant pay, while Senators passed legislation preventing sexual assault, parking and grade forgiveness among other issues.
In his officer report, SGA President Ammishaddai Grand-Jean thanked the SGA Senate for its hard work and addressed the TKE incident.
Grand-Jean said the incident would be investigated confidentially according to law and policies by the Equal Opportunity Office, but that SGA and students could still make a difference.
“We are committed to working with the new administration coming in to continue to have that conversation,” Grand-Jean said. “The truth is we cannot allow this to be a flare-up moment and then we all go away … We all have a responsibility [regardless of our personal identity] to know what is right and know what’s not right and also call it out when it happens.”
SGA Vice President Charlene Marsh said in her officer report that she had recently been working on two housing-related initiatives: reversing the RA compensation change and pushing for gender-neutral housing options.
After sharing the concerns of many RAs with University Housing, Marsh said Auxiliary Services agreed to allow employees to opt out of the new meal plan compensation package or retain the old system before all RAs move to the new system in the 2020-2021 school year.
During her meeting with University Housing, she also shared the suggestions from the LGBT Resource Center Ambassadors for the development of gender-neutral housing. Marsh said University Housing seemed open to the discussion.
Marsh also said she was encouraged by the response to the ‘In Solidarity’ forum on the TKE video but did not want the discussion end there.
“Something I do want to remind you of is that this was not an isolated incident,” Marsh said. “There are some murky waters and details we don’t have influence on when it comes to working with the Equal Opportunity Office, but I think the one thing we can have influence on is the culture here at UGA.”
SGA Treasurer Destin Mizelle was absent from the meeting due to All Campus Allocations Committee obligations.
The resolution proposing the addition of an A-plus to the grade scale was on the agenda but was tabled indefinitely.
Designed to prevent sexual assault and authored by Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity President Kat Barker, Resolution 31-19 calls for the creation of a safe word program to allow students to communicate danger to staff to prevent sexual assault in University Housing. This resolution passed unanimously.
The Senate then passed legislation to encourage Ramsey Student Center to provide parking vouchers for its employees. In her presentation of Resolution 31-21, Senator Anderson Felt said many employees who have to purchase parking in decks end up losing their first hour of earnings on this expense. This resolution passed.
After hearing complaints about the intramural scoring system last year, which awards more points for scores won by females, Senators Allison Fine, Nimisha Vasandani and Landon Smith presented legislation to address the unequal scoring system.
Resolution 31-23, which was passed by the Senate, recommends that IM sports test out an equal scoring policy next year in soccer, and if exit surveys show that the change is popular, adopt it across other sports.
Senator Chloe Hamby presented legislation to create a pilot “global buddies” program, which would match international and domestic students to ease adjustment to UGA. This resolution passed.
Senator Andrew Stephens presented legislation to create a first-year grad forgiveness policy to allow students to retake classes in which they poorly performed freshman year for a higher grade. While the idea of a forgiveness policy was popular, senators were divided on whether or not there should be a limit on the number of courses students should be allowed to retake.
Originally, a motion passed to table the resolution indefinitely, but just before the adjournment of the meeting, a revised resolution was presented and passed to clarify these disagreements.
Senators Nadav Ribak and Charley Claudio presented legislation to create a program to allow students, faculty and staff to donate 10 canned good in exchange for relief from one parking ticket. Students will be able to make this exchange at the Food for Fines event, which will be hosted on April 18 by SGA and Transportation and Parking Services. This resolution passed.
Before adjourning, Senate also passed resolution 31-30, “A Resolution Condemning Racism on Campus,” authored by Senator Matthew McDaniel in response to the TKE incident. The resolution calls for SGA to hold a follow-up discussion to the “In Solidarity” discussion by April 30.
Among the other legislation passed by Senate are resolutions regarding the posting of updated syllabi, the creation of a crosswalk near lot W-11, extending Snelling Dining Hall hours, creating a study room occupancy system in the Miller Learning Center and adding a microwave to the MLC.