Senate Beat: Sept 24, 2021

Senate Talks CRAG and Funding

Although the theme for this week’s Public Senate meeting was “funding,” another topic was discussed just as much: the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group (CRAG). The conversation about CRAG began when a student asked Senate about next week’s Senate meeting, which will cover topics relating to student spaces. The student wanted to know if a representative of CRAG would be in attendance, considering all student spaces’ capacity and hours of operation fall under their jurisdiction. The student raised the example of the Gray Campus Center (GCC), specifically the Pool Hall. The Pool Hall weekly tournaments have been stopped numerous times by Community Safety Officers (CSO) around 2 a.m. In the past, the Pool Hall was open 24/7; when the student raised this with the CSOs, he was directed to talk to CRAG, who put the 2 a.m. closing in place for COVID reasons. 

Student Body Vice President Orion Pendragon jumped in the conversation, noting that this is not the only instance of CRAG implementing regulations on student spaces with no student input or knowledge. They added that if students are expected to follow the Honor Principle, that principle should elicit trust in the students more than it has been. 

Student Body President Alondra Loza said that she has no idea the exact members of CRAG, and no students have been invited to any CRAG meetings to bring a student perspective. Operations Coordinator at the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) Megan Simón said that she also doesn’t know who is on CRAG, even though her job is largely influenced by the group’s decisions. 

The only way for students to get a hold of CRAG is by emailing Loza said she has strongly encouraged a member CRAG to attend next week’s Senate meeting but has gotten no response. 

Head Treasurer Kodinna Anachebe wanted to bring some of the questions raised about funding to the meeting. First and foremost, Anachebe said that all of the information they shared in the meeting is either linked or stated directly in SB Info, and if students would like to get more information about signator training or making a club, they should look in their inbox.

Senate is currently working in tandem with OSE to get a master list of all of the clubs on the OSE webpage soon. In the meantime, Anachebe said, students should read SB Info for all of the information about funding and clubs.

Loza understands that SB Info is often illegible, calling it “fruit loops in an email.” Loza stated that while Senate has multiple things to complete at the same time, reformatting SB Info is high on the list of things she wants to achieve. Communication is at the center of what Senate does, and SB Info, no matter its formatting, is the one-stop-shop for all of students’ questions regarding funding and clubs.

Committee Reports yielded some updates. Senator Beq Yonaka was not in attendance and sent their updates via email. The Student Committee on Diversity (SCOD) had its first meeting but could not hold a chair election due to low attendance. SCOD is working on “identifying key grievances and advocating for the CSO Advisory Board to begin regular meetings right away.” Yonaka also expressed frustration regarding the events that occurred during the Committee on Academic Policy and Planning (CAPP) meeting. Yonaka attended as a member of the Student Committee for Academic Policy and Planning (SCAPP). SCAPP brought up the Physical Education (PE) Credit Reform Proposal, which Yonaka has been a champion of well before this meeting. Not only was the proposal the last thing on the agenda, but Yonaka said it “was immediately apparent that there was a widespread lack of understanding of the proposal, either of the specific reforms proposed or the core issue being addressed. Each item in the proposal is critical to addressing the issues of inequity and specifically disability-based discrimination at the heart of the ‘PE Credit Requirement.’” The proposal is not on the agenda for the upcoming CAPP meeting, signaling CAPP’s lack of interest in discussing this proposal further. Yonaka spoke to Quest Editor Katherine Draves about the proposal last year, and encourages anyone interested in the details of it to read that interview on the Quest website.

Loza also provided a committee report on SCAPP. Loza underscored the conversation regarding CSO conduct, stating that while their presence on campus is different than last year, that does not indicate a complete lack of mistakes and misconduct. She, like Yonaka, is hoping the Advisory Board will meet soon. 

Senators Margot Becker and Arley Sakai talked about their meeting with Title IX Coordinator Chris Toutain. In the meeting, changes to policies as a result of Oregon House Bill 3415 were discussed. HB 3415 requires colleges to define a set of terms often used in Title IX conversations. Senate is involved in those working definitions and plans to be involved in upcoming meetings about them. In the meeting, Sakai pushed Toutain to make his office hours and contact information more accessible to students, as well the regulations he enforces and follows. Sakai hopes to make a single easy-to-read document that explains Title IX.

Finally, Senator Safi Zenger gave updates about Academic Success Committee and Appointments Committee (AppComm). Zenger and Vice Treasurer Kiana Cunningham-Rodgriguez met with Director of the Office of Academic Support David Gruber. In the meeting, Zenger brought up the consequences of the registration bump process, which pushes students onto the waitlist for popular classes if the student is not a major in that particular subject. Zenger and Cunningham-Rodgriguez said that this process disadvantages students who are undeclared or undecided about their major, and Gruber was sympathetic to this. 

Zenger said that there are new positions as well as old ones open on Handshake. If any student is interested, they should apply! Zenger and Loza are also looking to compile a list of all the positions AppComm hires and conduct a review of them. Zenger said that through the years, some positions that do not directly benefit students were put on AppComm’s plate, making the workload for the committee unsustainable. Zenger wants AppComm to return to its original purpose: hiring student jobs that directly benefit students.

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