SGA discusses student concerns about inappropriate comments and staffing shortages


Emma Lyons / THE GATEPOST

By Emma Lyons

Editorial Staff

SGA discussed student concerns, the Board of Trustees meeting and upcoming events at its Oct. 25 meeting.


During open forum, Diversity and Inclusion Officer Erin Gemme said students informed them of uncomfortable remarks made by a dining hall employee.


President Dara Barros said if it is a Title IX situation, students could reach out to Meg Nowak Borrego, dean of students and Title IX coordinator for students. If students would prefer to report the issue anonymously, Sexual Harassment & Assault Prevention & Education

(SHAPE) is another resource they can use.


Gemme also said a few students told them about struggles in the ASL department regarding courses not being offered and issues with staffing.


“One of my friends is actually transferring out of here because it [the department] can’t fulfill her ASL major requirements,” they said.


Ward said students should reach out to Kristen Porter-Utley, provost and academic vice president. The ASL major isn’t widely offered in other New England states, so students from other states come to Massachusetts for the major.


“If we’re losing our ASL program, it’s going to further decrease our enrollment, possibly, and affect enrollment and also retention,” Ward said.


Sam Houle, SATF Treasurer, said there is still a problem with parking in commuter lots.


He said he had sat in parking lots before 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. classes as commuter students circled lots, unable to find parking and attend classes on time.


Barros said commuter students are able to park in Maple Lot if they are unable to find open spots in Maynard Lot or Salem End Lot.


Senator Austin Van Lingen said he met with the parking committee and John Santoro, chief of University Police, and Dale Hamel, executive vice president, to discuss potential solutions to the ongoing issue.


Van Lingen said, in the short term, he and Santoro are working on creating an email to send out to students explaining the parking regulations. They also discussed asking faculty to speak to their students in person about the parking policies becoming more strict.


Ward said asking faculty to relay information in person may not be the right solution. She said it could be more helpful if the information was sent out through a student-wide email from the Dean of Students.


In her officer report, Ward spoke about the Board of Trustees open forum Oct. 24. She said they addressed a need for “better connection” between the Board of Trustees and the campus community.


[Editor’s Note: See “Concerns over communication with students and faculty raised at Board of Trustees special session” in this issue of The Gatepost.]


She said she has already spoken to Ann McDonald, chief of staff, general counsel, and secretary to the Board of Trustees, about changing the setup of the Board of Trustees meetings.


Ward said she is working to organize another student open forum with the Board of Trustees early in the spring semester.


The next Board of Trustees meeting is on Nov. 16. She said the members are going to eat dinner in the Dining Commons before the meeting, and want students to interact with them during that time.


“Please come stop by and talk to us. They want to get to know you,” Ward said.


She said there is going to be a Campus Safety Walk at 6:00 p.m. Nov. 15.


Ward said McDonald met with the Institute for Human Centered Design, a company that helps create accessibility audits around the country.


In the meeting, the company suggested FSU create an accessibility map of the University, in addition to creating an audit and having a list of things that need to be changed, she said.


“By doing a map, it not only highlights what’s accessible and what’s not accessible, but also gives us a resource to provide to students, faculty, and staff, and then prospective students and their families, and then also guests to be able to walk through the campus,” she said.


Ward said the current plan is to get a bid for the price of the audit and look into ways to fund it.


In her officer report, Barros said she is meeting with President Nancy Niemi to follow up on the issues addressed at the Oct. 11 Administrators’ Forum.


Barros said she plans to give a report at the SGA meeting before the next Administrators’ Forum on what has been resolved.


Houle said many governance committees need student voices on them. All open positions must be filled by a junior or senior.


The next SGA meeting will be held via Zoom Nov. 8. Lorretta Holloway, vice president of Academic Enhancement, will be attending the meeting to lead an activity explaining what the roadmap is from when students put in their deposit until graduation.


In her officer report, Outreach and Events Coordinator Evelyn Campbell said the Senator Retreat will be held Nov. 19 in the Heineman Ecumenial Center. The retreat is for senators to bond and learn about the organization’s procedures as well as the SGA constitution.


Sophomore Billy Hubert was sworn in as a new senator.


Sophomore Ben Hurney was voted Senator of the Month after a nomination by Barros.


The “U-Rock” award was presented to sophomore Dillon Riley by Ward. She said Riley reminded her of herself when she started out on SGA.


[Editor’s Note: McKenzie Ward is Opinions Editor for The Gatepost]


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