Senate Minutes 11/17/2020

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS STUDENT UNION ANNUAL GOALS MEETING

DATE CONVENED // November 17, 2020

LOCATION // Zoom

RECORDING SECRETARY // Nicole Leers, Braxton Sizemore

TIME CONVENED // 7:30 PM — Speaker Gaby Smith Calls to Order

Agenda:
Resolution Advocating for the Dehousing of Fraternities
Constitutional Council Confirmation
Annual Goals Presentation
Diversity and Inclusion
Health and Wellness
Campus and Residential Experience
Academic Affairs
Updates/Open Forum/Student Body Pulse
Executive and Advisor Updates
Senate Snapz

Attendance

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ChloeDoumarPTETEPAEPPP
NkemjikaEmenikePPPPAEPPP
StephanieHernandez-BarralesPPPPPPPP
PhilipKeislerAEPPAPPPP
KristinaLeePPAEPPPPP
NicoleLeersPPPAEPPPP
GabySmithPPPPPPPP
DylanRosenthalPPPPPPPP
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AdamOubaitaAEPPPPAPP
ChristineMuoghaluPPPPPATP
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ZoeSiegelPP
MaddyKishPP
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EmmetKleinPP
RamadanIbrahimP
JaitsiriKaur AhluwaliaPP

Resolution Advocating for the Dehousing of Fraternities

  • Nkemjika: explaining the resolution in the contexts of conversations questioning the role of greek life on campus, SU taking a stance 
  • Tenny: Has there been any indication from fraternities of a willingness to give up housing, or is this just a stance we are taking?
    • Nkemjika: as far as she knows, no fraternity has said they are willing to give up housing, one fraternity is not in favor of doing recruitment 
  • Philip: through housing contracts, assumes that WashU has a financial incentive to keep the housing in place. Would there be a cost associated with transitioning the housing to housing for marginalized communities? 
    • Gaby: further conversation, if it is through res life then there would not be additional fees 
    • Nkemjika: not all communities will want the housing as residential spaces, could be used to host events 
  • Dylan: does res life have any control over what happens in these housing spaces?
    • Gaby: lists for fraternity parties (could make fraternities more exclusive), event captains, bigger question is does university regulation make parties safer? 
  • Chloe: is fraternities moving off campus and becoming less regulated a concern? 
    • Nkemjika: also concerned about this, but we should not be dedicating University resources and funds to non inclusive and inequitable spaces  
  • Emmet: implications on policing and accountability if fraternities are off campus?
    • Gaby: just because students are off campus does not mean the University cannot take action, not relinquishing control of fraternity members as students, subject to the same processes 
  • Philip: EST would probably not be able to help out on off-campus events, is this a concern? 
    • Gaby: on-campus fraternity housing does have access to EST but does not utilize it to its fullest, barriers to accessing health services on and off campus, not sure if we would be able to extend EST jurisdiction off-campus 
  • Adam motions to move into discussion 
    • Seconded 
  • Nkemjika: should continue the conversation about extending EST jurisdiction 
  • Adam: majority of the EST cases are not alcohol related 
  • Gaby: these houses will still exist on campus, there can still be on-campus parties, just hosted by different groups 
  • Chloe: should look into potential rules and barriers of other student groups being able to throw parties, IFC fraternities have special insurance 
  • Emmet: having WashU financially support fraternities is not ideal, if parties are being hosted on and off campus does this spread resources thin? 
  • Tenny: off campus parties are usually in jurisdiction of U-City police or Clayton police, not under the protection of WashU 
  • Philip: need to think about if WUPD should be dealing with these issues, students moving off campus is putting a strain on the larger community, good to move more students back on campus
  • Gaby: no one has answers to any of these questions, can continue to have these conversations after we pass the resolution 
  • Nkemjika: survey results show that students are in support of dehousing, need to re-evaluate the role of WUPD, everything is up in the air  
  • Tenny: does this relate to sorority suites as well?
  • Nkemjika: no 
  • Dylan: wants to spend more time thinking, motions to table until our next Senate session that is not internal elections
    • Seconded 
  • Philip: point of information – is there a dire need to get this passed this session? 
  • Nkemjika: would rather not delay, does not think that we will get answers to these questions 
  • Vote 
    • 12 in favor of tabling 
    • 0 opposed 
    • 0 abstentions 

Constitutional Council Confirmation

Introductions 

  • Maurice (he/him/his) is a sophomore in ArtSci, skeptic of SU, can bring legitimacy to the table 
  • Elijah Wiesman is a first-year in ArtSci, wants to serve the student community, has been working on his legal reasoning, wants to provide oversight to the other branches 
  • Julia Cleary is a first-year in ArtSci, thinks she will be a good member due to experience in legal environments, wants to use passions to give back to the community 
  • Ranen presents on behalf of McKenna 
    • Shows an exceptional ability to think about elections through different lenses, well spoken 
  • Ranen collaborated with other members of Constitutional Council in making appointments following the interviews 
  • Ethan clarifies that the council did not make any formal recommendations but was involved in interviews 

Questions 

  •  Stephanie asks if they hold implicit bias and how they would navigate those within their rulings? 
    • Maurice says he thinks everyone has biases but the process in which rulings are made is thoughtful and as impartial as it can be. Nature of there being several justices helps further combat this. Feels like he is able to separate thoughts about SU from his rulings 
    • Julia agrees with Maurice and thinks that if they are truly invested in the judicial process they can negate this. Has ideas on how to limit bias in rulings when it can be relevant by blind hearings. 
    • Elijah agrees that everyone has implicit biases but through the argumentative process with other justices they can separate their own feelings and thoughts, committed to upholding Article XIV
  • Tenny asks what is the biggest challenge they see in fulfilling their position to the fullest extent possible? 
    • Julia says that for her school takes priority over everything else, but she is ready to make Constitutional Council her main extracurricular priority 
    • Maurice works sporadically and work takes priority 
    • Elijah thinks being virtual is a barrier because it takes away from the discourse you can have with the parties 
    • Ranen messages McKenna’s involvement in the chat 
      • Work-study, internship, and Women’s Network 
  • Philip asks what is/ is not considered a political issue
    • Elijah thinks we can separate political issues and human rights issues, SU should be able to express beliefs on human rights issues, but policies that do not impact human rights are political issues, would not give wide deference but would evaluate on a case-by-case basis 
    • Julia agrees with Elijah 
    • Maurice thinks that it is important to listen to student reactions 
  • Adam motions to move to discussion 
    • Seconded 

Discussion 

  • Tenny thinks that all of them were great 
  • Nkemjika adds that they all have different opinions so it is good that we will have a lot of perspectives 
  • Philip thinks they are all good choices and motions to vote 
  • Ranen talks about why he thinks McKenna is a good candidate 
  • Motions to vote again 

Vote

  • 11 in favor 
  • 0 opposed 
  • 1 abstention 

Annual Goals Presentation

Diversity and Inclusion

  1. Greek life and its role on campus, SU report gave a lot of good information  
  2. Student activism by helping promote events, showing up physically and mentally
  3. Public safety and wellbeing of students 
  4. Student connections by reaching out to students and student groups and connecting them to each other and other administrators 
  5. De-stigmatization of St. Louis 
  6. Supporting funds by advertising different funds available 

Health and Wellness

  1. Centralized platform for mental health resources
  2. Increase access and active outreach to students of marginalized identities in regard to mental health resources
  3. Evaluate leave of absence policies
  4. Mental health services report
  5. Covering potentially triggering messaging on vending machines
  6. Increase accessibility to Mental Health Fund
  7. Between the line videos
  8. Increase access to contraceptives
  9. Implement mandatory mental health training for faculty
  10. Increased clarity on Covid19 guidelines 

Academic Affairs

  1. Advocate for Covid19-related academic accommodations
  2. Improve Career Center communications
  3. Improve access to career information via faculty; encourage professors to share knowledge and network
  4. Create a system and infrastructure for all students to have access to networks and tools needed for academic success, regardless of high school background
  5. Extend and equalize the add/drop deadline
  6. Advocate for consistency and timeliness in syllabi to help students make decisions about course schedules beforehand
  7. Encourage continued recording of all live lectures post-COVID-19 
  8. Create a new Art-Sci curriculum for Bear Beginnings that is more relevant and engaging
  9. Continue the Welcome to Spring/Fall semesterly email

Campus and Residential Experiences

  1. Continue SEC Collaboration and work with other green groups to advocate for carbon neutrality
  2. Have the University implement an expungement policy that allows for students to get marijuana possession off their disciplinary records
  3. Explore ways to meet safely during COVID-19 and the winter
  4. Power the Polls partnership and recruitment of poll workers from the WashU student body 
  5. Address transparency, policing practices, and public safety concerns via the Public Safety Committee
  6. Have ranked choice voting in all future SU elections (in which there is a single winner)
  7. Advocate for the cancellation of classes on election day
  8. Increase transparency and availability of special dietary resources/dining on campus

– Speaker Gaby Smith thanks attending faculty, administrators, and students; adjourns meeting

Updates/Open Forum/Student Body Pulse

Announcements

  • Possible meeting 11/24 to discuss Fraternity Resolution
  • Elections will occur 11/24; please share SU graphics to encourage students to vote

Executive and Advisor Updates

  • Inauguration and Internal Elections: planned for 12/1

Senate Snapz