Senate Beat: Mar 2, 2021

Senate Discusses Support for International Students

In this week’s public meeting, Senate spoke about how to support international students with Program Director for International Student Services (ISS) Gwen Standford. International student and member of the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) Ana Quintana Bernal was also in attendance to discuss ways Senate can help. International students make up about 11% of the Reed student body, a third of which are currently living outside of the United States, according to Standford. The ISS works with international students and supports them through the visa process as well as with travel. Standford spoke about the struggles that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the ISS and international students. The ISS follows COVID-19 guidance laid out by the Department of Homeland Security as well as US Customs and Immigration, which changes frequently. “There are still a lot of unknowns,” Standford said. The ISS is working alongside students to submit paperwork for visas and necessary documents, a long process made even more strenuous by the pandemic. 

Quintana Bernal spoke next about the struggles ISAB has faced as a result of the pandemic. In normal circumstances, ISAB works to showcase international cultures represented by students on campus. The board does this through events such as the International Festival, where students set up booths with objects, pictures, and food from their native country. According to Quintana Bernal, the festival was cancelled last year but will be held virtually this year. She asked Senate to use their platform to garner more awareness for the festival and the other activities from ISAB. Narain added that she will put all ISAB activities into the Student Body Information emails, so keep an eye out for dates and times in SB Info!

Committee reports began with Narain talking about a meeting she had regarding the Student Committee on Academic Policy and Planning. According to Narain, some professors were receptive to expanding the existing Credit/No Credit policy. Some administrators, however, were not as receptive, potentially posing challenges to the push. 

Student Body Vice President Aziz Ouedraogo followed Narain and added information about Funding Poll. Every club got the opportunity to propose budgets to Senate, which deliberates and decides how to split funds. The allocation of money will be announced soon, according to Ouedraogo. She also spoke about the changes to Student Publications that she wants to see this term. Her goals include centralizing information and news about Senate, and having more open conversations about wage review. A major point of contention last term, according to Ouedraogo, was the unnecessary secrecy surrounding conversations about wages. She expressed desire for creating more transparency in regards to wages this term. 

Senator Alondra Loza spoke next and officially recommended hires for a number of posts. Recommendations for a member of Campus Safety Board, KRRC station manager, studio engineer, and record librarian were all voted on and passed unanimously by Senate. Congratulations to all!

Senator M.J. Quintana-Rodriguez spoke about their exciting new project. They proposed racial bias training for freshmen as part of orientation week; the training will teach students how to navigate situations where there is not a positive racial discussion occuring. According to Quintana-Rodriguez, the project is in response to the failed proposal last term recommending racial bias training for all professors teaching Humanities 110. They expressed excitement about this project and hope to get the work started as soon as possible. 

Senator Orion Pendragon ended committee reports and spoke about a new mural that is being painted in the Psychology building. The mural will be a cephalopod with a map of their neurons in different colors. The mural was commissioned by the Psychology Department and will be painted rather quickly. Pendragon estimates that the mural will be completed within a matter of weeks. Pendragon also spoke about their work in creating a partnership between Greenboard and the Sustainability Committee, which Pendragon hopes will garner more meaningful policy. 

Senate also welcomed two new members this week! Anjali Reddy and Margot Becker, as newly elected members of Senate, attended their first executive meeting earlier this week, but could not attend this week’s public Senate meeting. Congratulations Anjali and Margot!

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