Undergraduate Student Government senators voted unanimously to change the name of the Women’s Student Assembly to the Student Assembly for Gender Empowerment at the first USG meeting of the semester Tuesday.
SAGE Assistant Director Maddie Hengst said that the change came about in order for the group to better fulfill its mission statement and become a better resource for both cisgender and transgender students.
“Our mission statement recognizes that we do not just cater to female-identified students, but also cater to students of all gender identities,” Hengst said. “We also don’t want to alienate any of our constituency by focusing exclusively on women.”
Several senators initially voiced their confusion over the choice of a name change instead of the creation of an entirely new student organization. Sen. Leena Danpour asked why WSA did not choose to remain the same and simply create a new group called SAGE.
“I hope that in the future women wouldn’t feel alienated by our organization or feel inadequately represented by our organization,” Hengst said in response. “I think right now the organization wasn’t appropriately representing our mission statement, so this name change isn’t really changing the purpose of our organization at all — it’s just better reflecting what our mission statement has been and the work we’ve been doing for the past few years.”
Sen. Emily Lee wanted to know if WSA’s name change would expand its functions and encroach on the functions of the Queer and Ally Student Assembly. Sen. Kate Oh said that for the most part, this would not occur.
“Gender identity and sexual orientation identity are different things,” Oh said. “There might be overlap, but there shouldn’t be any encroachment.”
After the vote to change WSA to SAGE passed unanimously, Sen. Tyler Matheson presented his resolution to create a system notifying students of whether or not they are taking any pass-fail courses. The electronic system, which will also notify them of how many pass-fail courses they registered for, aims to provide students with useful information about classes.
Senators will vote on whether or not to pass this resolution at the next USG meeting.