The Undergraduate Student Government presented an amendment to one of its bylaws at its Tuesday meeting to allow underrepresented groups on campus to become cultural assemblies. The amendment, which was presented by Director of Accessibility Affairs Gwen Howard, would allow student organizations such as the Native American Student Union to become part of its programming branch and receive recognition and funding from USG.
“This provides another [cultural assembly pathway],” Howard said. “If you don’t have five member organizations … you can still illustrate student interest and student engagement with the issue at hand and have all of the privileges that are afforded to USG assemblies.”
The amendment would allow a cultural organization to become an assembly with a petition signed by fifty undergraduates as an alternative to meeting the current requirement of having five recognized student organizations on campus be affiliated with the cultural organization.
Vice President of NASU Moakeah Rivera said that this will allow her organization, which represents students who make up 1% of the student body, to have a voice within USG and campus.
“As Native Americans we’re a minority of a minority in our own country,” Rivera said. “And yet, when we are on our land we aren’t treated fairly. Even though we’re a small population here at USC, we still have 30 plus members and according to USC, there’s over 285 [Native Americans] at USC. We are still a group of students… [who] should participate in voting and … become an assembly.”
USG also announced that they are in the process of hiring a new election commissioner. Additionally, Chief Diversity Officer Jeffrey Cho said that he is in the process of hiring a co-director for external affairs and an assistant director for wellness affairs for the advocacy team.
Senior Director of Communications Truman Fritz presented his updates on the executive team’s efforts in restructuring USG from January to March. USG members hope to improve the organization by combining the advocacy and legislative branches, allowing for senators and members of the advocacy team to work together on more focused efforts.
“I think it gives us better leverage and better alignment on being able to reach administrators effectively,” Fritz said. “It’s going to help bring people together across different teams, and I think that’ll just make it better for us to be able to reach administrators and make actual change on campus.”
Sen. Angela Chuang spoke on the coronavirus incident that occurred Monday night where false information was spread through email and social media, including xenophobic memes about the international community on campus. Chuang also asked senators and students in attendance to be aware of posts they share on the virus.
“I want to remind everyone and encourage everyone to be mindful about what you’re sharing … on social media because a lot of these posts are very anti-Asian,” Chuang said. “Our international student population and our Asian American student population are being affected by this because [we’re worried about our] relatives back in Asia.”