New USG leadership takes office

Undergraduate Student Government President Truman Fritz, Vice President Rose Ritch and the 140th Student Senate were inaugurated for the 2020-21 school year at the Senate meeting Tuesday. 

The inauguration ceremony was held over Zoom and was attended by around 70 people, including President Carol Folt. According to Fritz, Folt was the first University president to attend a USG inauguration ceremony. The ceremony was also broadcasted live on the USG Facebook page. 

Fritz gave an inaugural speech in which he reflected on the efforts of USG throughout the past year, especially in continuing operations and working on projecting through the unforeseen challenges caused by the coronavirus. 

“As we meet tonight, our university is experiencing an event unlike any other,” Fritz said. “I know many members of our community … face great uncertainty about the months ahead. To the members of our student body, we must offer ourselves and our resources as a source of unwavering support, wherever we can provide it … We can and we will work together through spirited teamwork and steadfast action to accomplish not only the improbable, but the impossible.” 

Fritz said his mission is to prioritize students’ mental and physical health and their basic needs, create spaces for discussions of diversity and inclusion, hold administrators accountable to the promises they make to students and work to slow down the University’s environmental impact through divestment initiatives. He also hopes to lead USG in establishing working partnerships with other student organizations in order to expand their impact beyond just the organizations incorporated under USG. 

“USG must recognize that we need to expand our scope beyond our own organization,” Fritz said. “We will do this by building new partnerships, strengthening old ones and unifying student groups across USC through direct engagement. This year, we will lean into our devotion to making a difference and bring new and exciting ideas to the table by working with all stakeholders in our decision-making wherever we can.” 

Following the inauguration ceremony, the 140th USG Senate held its first meeting. Fritz announced his appointment of new officers for the cabinet, as well as for the legislative, programming and communications branches.

“Essentially, we had over a couple hundred applicants for our various different positions,” Fritz said. “I believe there were around 80 positions open this semester … We made our final decisions based on the calculated stipend amount that we were looking for in terms of hiring.” 

A resolution in support of incorporating the Native American Student Assembly was presented to the new Senate. 

“We have been working for a very long time towards becoming an assembly, so I’m very happy and very pleased to be presenting … not just for that consideration, but to also bring into light the challenges Native American students face at USC in general,” Native American Student Union President Maracea Chase said. 

A resolution supporting the implementation of a permanent resource center for undocumented students was also presented. Representatives from Improving Dreams, Education, Access and Success, a student organization that focuses on increasing awareness of undocumented student issues that affect USC and its surrounding community, spoke on the necessity of establishing the resource center. 

“There is an urgent need to establish a resource center that provides [immigration-related services], in addition to an appointed full-time [staff member],” IDEAS vice president Kimberly Alvarado said. “This pandemic has increased instability in the lives of the undocumented community … We are calling on USC to provide support for this underrepresented demographic.” 

The Senate will vote on the resolutions at the meeting next week.