The 56th Student Senate met on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Union to discuss United Greek Association (GA) funding, school response to offensive racial signs, general education courses, fair pay resolution and a student drug survey.
Senators Jesse Ginsberg and Nadia Alirahi brought to the senators a working idea that would embed courses that qualify as a diversity general education requirement into other GE categories, such as western civilization, humanities, world, arts and social science.
The change would allow students to “double dip” and have one class count for a diversity credit as well as another GE, Ginsberg said.
The idea was met with some skepticism. Senator Dana Hershkowitz brought attention to recent events on campus that have been racially offensive and said that diversity courses are important.
UGA Vice President Emily Frawley spoke to the senate about possible funding for UGA through SA.
If UGA would be granted funding, they would not be delegating that money out to individual fraternities and sororities on campus — that money would be used exclusively for UGA events, Frawley said.
Frawley said that money from SA would help UGA with funding their philanthropic fundraisers and would decrease the amount of money out of pocket they would have to spend on events.
SA President Manuel Tejada said that the student activities fee might have to be raised in order for UGA to be given funding.
Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Jordan Taylor addressed a sign on a residence hall door that read, “Emmett Till deserved to die.”
Senator Mary Bacorn brought up taking further action with the issue, instead of just condemning it.
She suggested paying for and putting up signs around the campus that would highlight sections of the student handbook that state that these kinds of actions will not be tolerated.
“We [SA] can say we are for things. I don’t want to just condemn these things,” she said.
Executive Vice President Zachary Rousseas said that a more appropriate and comprehensive reaction to this issue shouldn’t come from the senate.
“It’s important to respect the autonomy of black student leaders,” he said.
He was also upset at the email concerning the incident sent to students from UPD chief David Dugatkin that Rousseas believed indirectly implied the student who took a picture of the sign and posted it to Facebook impeded the investigation.
Faculty members asked senate to endorse the fair pay resolution — which asks for the suggested salary increases for professors from 2011 to 2013 (the time between the end of the last UUP contract the beginning of the current contract), reduce the minimum number of credits for full time lecturers from 15 to 12 credits and raises the salary per three credit course from $3,000 to $5,000.
The senate endorsed the resolution with a unanimous vote.
Last on the agenda was the proposed resolution supporting the SUNY assembly in condemning SUNY Universities holding blood drives because they discriminate against gay men. Last senate meeting the proposal was tabled for a lack of citations provided for all the information.
The resolution was passed.
The next senate meeting will take place Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m.