Two weeks ago, the Student Body Senate was visited by Res Life committee members whose aim was to answer audience questions and discuss topics ranging from the new housing model to Housing Adviser policies and concerns. Later, Title IX Coordinator and Program Director for Restorative Practices Santi Alston stood up to discuss and give a brief overview of the new hazing policy draft.
After a fantastic display of the ever-so-regular microphone shuffle shenanigans, Res Life managed to introduce themselves and begin answering questions. The first question posed by an audience member concerned reflections on the new housing model and prospects for the future. It was stated that there have been some positive byproducts of having year-specific living areas, for example Hum 110 lecture attendance seems to be up this year due to what Res Life suspects to be a greater sense of community and connection in first year dorms. On the other hand, sophomores that live in first year neighborhoods have not been doing as well according to self-reports. Res Life continually emphasized the fact that the housing situation has been and will continue to be constantly tweaked and that student feedback is always helpful.
Julia Nicholson, the Assistant Director of Res Life, continued by stating that one goal of instituting the new holistic curriculum is to ensure that no matter where on campus a student is living, they will be receiving the same messages, morals, and resources as any other student. Next, the subject came up regarding an uneven and unfair HA involvement distribution among the different living areas and how HA’s get placed. The worry stood mainly on the basis that it’s harder to advise first year houses as opposed to upperclassmen neighborhoods. Res Life responded simply that there is not a lot that can be done about the distribution of work. It was then suggested that more HA feedback processes should be anonymized to ensure and maintain a safe environment for constructive criticism. Res Life Area Coordinator Deja Fitzgerald then posed some questions to the Senate asking what Res Life could be doing to better support students and promote inclusivity. Some suggestions were that the women’s dorm should be changed to a gender minority dorm to include gender non-binary students and that the Language Houses should be open to first-years due to the fact that they are highly activity-oriented, which could be a useful tool to help first year students develop a better sense of community.
Santi Alston then stood up to inform the Senate that the new hazing policy draft has been completed and gave a brief outline on why we need this policy in the first place. Basically, Reed needs the policy to be in adherence with the Oregon House Bill 2519, which requires that hazing policy training is provided (which will require funding) and that hazing incidents must be reported to the state at the end of each year. By this point, everyone in attendance was buzzing with anticipation to leave the abnormally long Senate meeting and so the festivities concluded.