USG votes to create sanctuary campus
Undergraduate Student Government Senators passed the Sanctuary Campus resolution at the USG meeting on Tuesday, with all but one senator voting yes. The resolution called on the administration to protect and support USC’s undocumented students, staff and their families by not sending information about their immigration status to government officials.
Sen. Leena Danpour, who voted against the resolution, raised concerns about the effect that the resolution as is would have on University funds, due to President-elect Donald Trump’s statement that cities that declared themselves sanctuaries would not receive federal funds. Speaker Paul Samaha, however, responded that over 200 universities, many of which are public and therefore rely largely on federal funding, have already declared themselves sanctuary campuses and have not seen their support withdrawn.
Following this vote, Treasurer Christian Edwards gave an update on the funding branch of USG, highlighting organizations that were utilizing their funds to put on events, such as Troy Camp, Commedus Interruptus and Corpus Callosum. So far, the funding branch has allocated around $142,000 to member organizations out of approximately $353,000, which is around 40 percent of the budget. According to Edwards, this is because the spring semester usually has more expenses than the fall semester.
Sen. Daniel Million then gave an update about his past and present projects, starting with the Trojan Family Welcome Back Festival in the beginning of the year.
“The purpose of this was to bring our community together and showcase the different cultures at USC,” Million said.
Million said he is also interested in finding a more accessible zero percent interest emergency loan system for students who need to take out loans during the school year, and in passing a resolution to make printing free on campus.
Million also mentioned that he is working with the Global Leadership Connection high school conference, which he was involved with in high school. The conference promotes leadership development in high school students, and Million, a first-generation college student, believes this program helped in his path toward college. He wants to implement a mentorship program with USC students and students from nearby high schools.
Sen. Alanna Schenk also gave a presentation on her project to create a housing index of University-owned and non-University-owned housing, and working with the head of USC Hospitality to create a cooking series to help students who can’t afford to buy all their meals but also don’t know how to cook. Another of her projects has been to help “rebrand” veterans and debunk any misconceptions through Veterans Awareness Week. Schenk is also looking into getting a widget on the MyUSC homepage for veterans called VETSC, similar to the one for international students.
Sen. Daniel Newman focused on two initiatives this semester, which he said was so he could put in his full effort and make greater progress than what would have been made on many smaller projects. His first initiative was to make spring admits feel more welcome on campus. For example, spring admits who moved to the University Gateway apartments in the fall to be closer to the USC community are being penalized by not having priority for the USC Village next year because they are not currently in USC Housing.
“A lot of spring admits don’t feel like Trojans until they get to campus in the spring,” Newman said. “Something I’ve really been working on is making them feel like they’re at home when they get that letter in the mail.”
Newman is also continuing to follow through on his initiative to make USC smoke- and tobacco-free. The proposal has been passed by the necessary bodies to be seriously considered by the administration, and Newman hopes it will come to fruition.
Program Board Executive Director Krystal Chavez then proposed a bylaw amendment that would formalize a process for changing the name of an assembly in program board. This was prompted by the Women’s Student Assembly’s desire to change its name to the Student Assembly for Gender Empowerment.
“We want to change our name to make it more inclusive and more accurate based on the work that we do,” said Vanessa Diaz, the director of WSA. “We want to make our organization more welcoming to people who are gender nonconforming and [for] men, because feminism is for everyone.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Alanna Schenk organized a career fair for veterans. Schenk did not work on the career fair; that was the Veterans Resource Center.