Senate Beat: Mar 23, 2021

Senate Talks HUM 110 Content Warnings

No theme was chosen for this week’s Public Senate meeting. The majority of the meeting was focused on updates regarding senators’ respective committees and liasionships. Student Body President Aziz Ouedraogo began committee reports and announced that next week’s Public Senate meeting will be a discussion about vaccines. According to Ouedraogo, members of the Biology Department and the Health and Counseling Center (HCC) will be in attendance to answer any questions students might have regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have any questions about vaccines, come to next week’s Senate meeting to ask them!

Senator Safi Zenger gave an update about her meeting with HUM 110 Chair Paul Hovda and English Department Chair Laura Leibman. Senators MJ Quintana-Rodriguez and Orion Pendragon were also in attendance. According to Zenger, the meeting was very productive. The meeting was in regards to a proposal created by Senate to put content warnings on the HUM 110 syllabus. The content warnings are on the Course Resource page of the HUM 110 website, which Zenger said was ineffective. The proposal was met with a fair amount of resistance. While the proposal was not shut down, it was not approved either. In a written statement, Zenger added, “The resistance largely came in the form of introducing alternate options and differing frameworks on the overall effectiveness of content warnings. Some professors brought up that content warnings might be more harmful than helpful, which was something with which we politely disagree.” Zenger put it simply, “We are not going to abandon this issue until something is settled.”

Senator Margot Becker spoke about the bylaws committee, which is reviewing the Senate bylaws. According to Becker, the committee is still figuring out the scope of their review, and will have updates for the public soon.

Student Body Vice President Alondra Loza reported on the Student Committee on Diversity (SCOD). The proposal to incorporate racial bias training into Humanities 110 (HUM 110) was pushed to next year. Loza is working with SCOD to hire consultants and have them trained by Assistant Dean for Institutional Diversity Cami West over the summer. Loza is hopeful that the proposal will create more productive conversations about race during HUM 110 conferences.

Head Treasurer Ena Hashimoto updated Senate about her duties. A few senators have requested funds totalling $240 from Treasury, both of which were voted on and passed. $35 was allocated to help create the Senate Bulletin, a proposed centralized location for information and news about Senate. $205 was approved for Senate to refurbish the Treasury office, which according to Senator Orion Prendragon, “needs some work.” Vice Treasurer Kodinna Anachebe clarified that the money allocated to Senate for the Treasurer’s office from Treasury is used only for the projects specified. They added in the Zoom chat, “we do not embezzle, we promise <3.”

Senator Beq Yonaka spoke next. They were very excited about the progress made in regards to captioning for public meetings. If all goes well and money is allocated, a captioner should be at a Public senate meeting in the future. In their position as a part of the Student Committee for Academic Policy and Planning (SCAPP), Yonaka started working on a memo to the faculty Committee for Academic Policy and Planning (CAPP) asking for a reevaluation of the PE credit requirements. Yonaka’s hope was to lower the amount of PE credits required to graduate, but they said the committee was far more open to looking at individual cases rather than changing the entire policy. While they seemed excited for the progress made, the consensus reached was not the one Yonaka advocated for. 

Zenger updated the group about her position as Appointments Committee chair. Applications have officially been sent out for various positions funded by Senate, which can be found on Handshake. On the Academic Support and Services Committee, Zenger, Assistant Treasurer Kiana Cunningham-Rodriguez, and Senator Quintana-Rodriguez are working on compiling a centralized resource page to help foster more academic support for minority students on campus.

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