By James Barraford
SGA discussed FSU’s commitment to anti-racism during its Nov. 9 meeting following the discovery of white supremacist decals on campus.
During the New Business section of the meeting, McKenzie Ward said she would not use Open Forum to discuss or name the group responsible. She said she wanted to assure students “that SGA is dedicated to the University’s goal of being an anti-racist school.”
Ward said, based on reporting from The Gatepost, “Campus Police will be checking the campus security cameras to see if the person or people who placed the stickers can be identified.”
She said while she was “glad” President F. Javier Cevallos informed the community within twenty-four hours of the incident.
She said, “The University needs to be informing the entire University about the different campus resources students can lean on for support.”
Ward said that while SGA was thankful that Vice President for Enrollment and Student Development Lorretta Holloway met with students on the need for an open forum on this issue – information Holloway later relayed to the administration – the forum was needed sooner.
“We need to be faster when responding to these incidents in order to provide our students with the security they need and deserve,” Ward said.
“Our students deserve to feel safe and welcomed on our campus,” Ward added.
She added that actual change on campus would be progress reports on incidents, more open forums, and faster response times to episodes of this nature.
Dara Barros, SGA diversity and inclusion officer, collaborated on Ward’s statement.
Barros added that she hosted a processing event for students on Thursday Nov. 4 at the Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE). She said she discussed hosting an open forum with Cevallos, which took place Nov. 10 at the CIE.
Barros said students could ask questions at the meeting, as well as email their questions on a form.
She said that she wanted the open forum to ask students what success looks like and what students want, especially students of color.
“It needs to be action and it needs to be action that has a purpose,” Barros said.
Ward said she spoke with Holloway about issues with the parking ticket notification system.
Holloway will relay this information to the parking office in order to come up with a solution, she said.
Ward said Holloway asked for SGA student representation at the police chief open forums happening November 17, 22, and 29.
According to an email from Holloway, the forums will be held in DPAC at 1:30 p.m. on the respective dates.
Ward added she asked Holloway about SGA possibly providing free and accessible feminine products. She said she has spoken with the group iGNITE, a women’s interest group on campus, about “teaming up.”
Several students have complained about professors saying there are evening classes Nov. 23, despite classes ending at 4:30 p.m. for Thanksgiving recess. Ward said any students with issues of this nature can contact Ellen Zimmerman, interim provost and vice president of Academic A0airs, and she will contact either the department chair or the faculty member.
Student Trustee Hillary Nna said the next Board of Trustees meeting would be Nov. 17.
She said there has been a proposal to create a Facebook group so students can sell books to each other.
During the Student Advisory Council Update, Senator Mark Haskell said there will be a briefing with the Department of Higher Education Nov. 19 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Committee members will cover issues such as the new undergraduate experience, the Student Bill of Rights, basic needs and food insecurity, open educational resources, campus safety, FY23 budget, advocacy, and financial aid programs.
During her Vice President’s Report, Emma Sullivan said a student concern table was hosted in the Maynard Parking Lot on the morning of Nov. 9. Major issues brought up were not enough parking, building heating, the need for more gym equipment, and masks not being available at all building entrances.
She said that she is planning to have a Black Lives Matter banner up in the McCarthy Building in support of students of color following Thanksgiving Break.
During his Secretary’s Report, Sam Houle said SGA should make sure members are keeping up with tasks and office hours.
Filling in for SATF Treasurer John Finkle, Ward said a mandatory Big Budget meeting will be held Feb. 11. She added all student organizations will be reviewed, and SGA will meet with group one organizations: WDJM, The Gatepost, FSAB, and themselves.
She added if anyone has any ideas for events that will increase student participation, they can reach out to her or Outreach and Events Coordinator Emily Rosenberg.
In her report, Rosenberg said all the Week of Kindness products arrived, and that the de-stress-themed gift bags should be ready next week.
In Barros’ report on Diversity and Inclusion, she said she was trying to create a week to support students of color.
She said all affinity group leaders will meet with the Council for Diversity Inclusion (CDI) on Zoom Nov. 10 at 1 p.m.
Barros will represent SGA. She will discuss ways the CDI can help with SGA’s goals.
During her Advisor’s Report, Sara Gallegos said Student Involvement and Leadership Development (SILD) is sponsoring the annual Giving Tree.
Gallegos said students can donate money or gifts through the United Way, which will go to 70 children in need.
Students can contact Kayleigh Novak at SILD if they want to donate a gift or money. Gallegos added event support is low and it is important for SGA members to support these events as well as those the group funds.
Barros was awarded the “U-Rock” this week.
The “U-Rock” is presented to recognize a senator’s accomplishments during the weeks between meetings.
[Editor’s note: McKenzie Ward is Opinions Editor for The Gatepost. Emily Rosenberg is an Arts & Features Editor for The Gatepost. Mark Haskell is a staff writer for The Gatepost.]