Senators vote to incorporate the Joint Assembly of Military-Associated Students
The Undergraduate Student Government hosted its last senate meeting of the semester this Tuesday, but in the middle of the meeting, the building’s fire alarm went off, prompting all attendees to evacuate.
Once the meeting reconvened, chief of staff Diego Andrades shared USG protocols according to the crisis response guidelines in the event of an emergency occurring. The last time an emergency took place during a senate meeting was four years ago, when there was a bomb threat reported during USG proceedings.
At the meeting, the senate unanimously voted to incorporate the Joint Assembly of Military-Associated Students, formerly the Military Associated Student Assembly.
JAMS shared that the reason behind the name change from MASA was the criticism the assembly faced that mispronouncing the name’s acronym evoked ties to slavery; the name change, they decided, would show more inclusion.
“A lot of people worked together on it when I was a freshman,” said original sponsoring senator Brian Stowe. “There were upperclassmen that were leading the charge and it failed three years in a row, and so to see this finally come to reality is very encouraging and exciting.”
Senator Yoav Gillath announced that Trojans Give Back will be resuming the dining dollar donation program on Thursday, where students can choose to donate their remaining dining dollars at the end of the semester through the mobile order app. Last May, the organization raised $12,000 to help students facing food insecurity, providing for 32 students to receive 15 meal swipes each week for this school year.
Assistant Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Student Equity and Inclusion Naddia Palacios came to the meeting to remind students of unifying values as well as the diversity policies around inclusion, including classes on non-discrimination.
Senator Cameron Cornelio presented the collaboration between USC and Leda health, which will provide USC students who have just experienced sexual assault early evidence kits that are self-administered and provide trauma-induced care.
Chief diversity officer Zaid Diaz-Arias presented on what the advocacy department has accomplished this semester. The department restructured the role of the advocacy liaison, expanded recruitment to more diverse communities, established the legislative fund for external advocacy projects that could be used by any legislative officer for public projects and met with assembly directors to reevaluate advocacy goals.
The advocacy department’s upcoming projects include hosting freedom of expression workshops with Student Affairs and Student Equity and Inclusion Programs, creating a centralized reporting system for diversity, equity and inclusion and interpersonal conflicts with campus activities and providing DEI guidelines for programming sponsorships and vendors.
Senator Devin Ayala shared that his goal is to ensure that all students are able to feel supported and part of a campus community that promotes student-led initiatives and goals. He’s working towards this goal by collaborating with groups such as USC Team Awareness Combatting Overdose to provide fentanyl test strips for students, USC Pad in their menstrual products drive and distribution events and the Black Student Assembly in helping to organize the restaurant crawl.
The wellness committee also presented current and future projects, including creating a wellness handbook, increasing access to naloxone training and fentanyl strips and surveying the student population to assess counseling needs and SoundMind, which allows students free access to visual and audio therapy.
Their future projects include continuing to collaborate and have meaningful discussions with DPS, working with DPS and EMT to provide self defense and CPR training, hosting educational and entertainment wellbeing events, providing Resident Assistants on call with Narcan and EpiPens and increasing self-administered kits on campus through Leda Health.
Vice president Nivea Krishnan presented on future projects for the upcoming semester, including affirmative action advocacy, crisis response guides, culture journey student commitment and DEI within Registered Student Organizations.