Undergraduate Student Government passed an amendment Tuesday that will now allow cultural organizations to become recognized student assemblies by submitting a petition signed by at least 50 undergraduate students. Previously, proposed assemblies had to have had at least five recognized student organizations to prove student interest in the assembly’s creation.
The Native American Student Union is one of the groups that has pushed for the passing of this resolution because of its lack of student representation in numbers. During the meeting’s open forum, NASU members said without the amendment, they would be unable to access funding or have a voice in USG.
“We have been left out of the conversation regarding our own future,” NASU President Maracea Chase said. “Our lack of representation, our lack of resources and the fact that we just don’t have the numbers on this campus to be recognized in the way that we want to.”
Sen. Rose Ritch provided updates on the financial literacy survey that she and Vice President Mahsin Tahsin have been working on. The survey gauges students’ comprehension of their finances in order to determine what resources to provide to help them better understand money management later in life.
Ritch also gave updates on her project to increase funding for fine art students. On Friday, she met with Thornton School of Music Vice Dean Lucinda Carver and Kaufman School of Dance Vice Dean Jodie Gates to propose how the $1 million grant the two schools received could be used for a fine arts fund for seniors who will soon be looking for jobs.
“[We’re] working on a proposal because there’s some money in there that has not been allocated,” Ritch said. “We’re working to try and have these people who made the donation to approve using as small as even $5,000 to start off with to go towards this fund.”
Director of Residential Affairs Gabriel Savage and Sens. Benjamin Shiff and Ritch provided updates on their work to revise absence policies in all schools but have faced a setback with the School of Cinematic Arts’ John Wells Division of Writing for Screen and Television attendance policy, where the department would deduct a student’s grade by 10% after the first two absences. The policy was updated Wednesday to clarify exceptions for religious observances, family and medical emergencies and personal well-being.
“As we all know, there’s been some issues with SCA recently, and so now, at our next meeting, we’ll most likely be addressing that, because it’s a real issue,” Ritch said.
Sen. Hailey Robertson and Director of Accessibility Affairs Gwen Howard shared that they tested wheelchair accessibility on campus by physically going to various buildings on campus. Although they found everything to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements — including governmental standards of design and construction for public facilities — USG members found that accessibility could be improved by publishing an accessibility map and presenting their findings to senior administrators.
“The user experience of [the buildings], essentially, can vary a lot, and we want every student to feel welcome and see facilities that are welcoming to them,” Howard said.