This meeting of the Student Government Association was called to order on Thursday, November 12th, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in the Black and Gold Room, Memorial Union on the campus of Fort Hays State University.
Old Business: There was a second reading of Bill No. 15/F/107 presented by the Appropriations Committee. The bill was passed.
New Business: There was much discussion during last night’s meeting regarding the events taking place on the University of Missouri’s campus. President Gonzalez proposed a resolution during new business that would show Fort Hays State University Student Government Association’s support towards making the University of Missouri a safe, uninterrupted learning environment for students. Gonzalez stated, “The entire campus at the University of Missouri is being disrupted. I took the oath to protect our students’ learning environment, and I proposed this resolution because the students at the University of Missouri currently do not have support and are in need of help.” After much discussion among senators, they reached the following conclusion on Resolution 15/F/100:
“Student Government Association of Fort Hays State University extends this statement of solidarity to support our peers: Student Government Association of Fort Hays State University stands in support of social justice, safety, and access for all members of their general student body of the University of Missouri and the Missouri students association.”
Resolution 15/F/100 was passed.
President Ulises Gonzalez thanked everyone for attending last night’s meeting. Gonzalez also shared that he met with the Educational Opportunity Fund committee and sent out recommendations this week.
Vice President Molly Morgan reminded attendees of the meeting to be respectful of others’ opinions during the open forum discussion.
Chief of Staff Lauren Wiebe thanked senator Vivian Agnew and the American Democracy Project for putting on the Veteran’s Day ceremony on campus.
Campus Relations Director Rebecca Vincent met with the Cultural Competency Task Force and extended invitations to anyone interested in attending the next meeting that is to be held on Thursday, November 19th at 11:00 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. in the CSI office.
Legislative Affairs Director Kade Megaffin shared that the applications for Higher Education Day are due November 20th.
The Appropriations Committee will have four bills up for first reading next week, and had one up for second reading at last night’s meeting.
The Senate Affairs Committee completed executive staff reviews during their committee meeting.
Student Relations and Involvement Committee met briefly to discuss the open forum that took place at Thursday’s meeting.
The Legislative and Political Action Committee did not meet this week.
Installation of New Members
Senator Alyssa Steppe was sworn into office at last night’s meeting.
Community Relations Director Lizzette Alvalos and Carly McCracken presented as guest speakers at last night’s meeting discussing their travel abroad experience in China, and encouraging undergraduate students to take the opportunity to apply for this trip. For further information, please contact either one of the speakers.
During last night’s open forum, students and faculty at Fort Hays State University were encouraged to participate in an open discussion over the Cultural Competency Task Force, the events taking place on the University of Missouri’s campus, and the steps that FHSU can take in order to help lessen the presence of racism on this campus. Senator Anna Hand started off the discussion by sharing that the origination of the Cultural Competency Task Force was due to the racially insensitive Twitter and YikYak posts from FHSU students that happened last year. These posts left people feeling unsafe and uncomfortable, and this committee was created to prevent things of that nature from happening again. Senator Emily Brandt added that it is important that organizations at FHSU are well informed about issues happening on campus and in the news, and make sure that students feel comfortable coming to them for help. It was discussed the different resources FHSU offers students- Kelly Center, Resident Advisors- who feel they are victims of any kind of racist or cultural attack. Aubrianna Luck contributed to the discussion by letting the senate know that RHA is here for the students and want to ensure everyone feels included. Dr.Cheryl Duffy added that educators should not shy away from difficult conversations, but instead use them to allow students to express their thoughts and feelings on issues. Educators need to be willing to have open discussions within their classrooms. One student felt that as an African American here at FHSU, there were certain places on campus that he did not feel comfortable going. He also voiced his concern about the lack of African-American involvement on campus and wondered what ways FHSU could increase their involvement and reduce the racism he feels is evident on campus. Senator Vivian Agnew responded to these statements by including that the culture of Hays, Kansas is unlike any other place in the country, but the first step towards any resolution is having a conversation. She stated that we need to ask the important questions and define the issues before we can solve them. “We need to start somewhere, and this [open forum discussion] is that starting point.” President Ulises Gonzalez contributed that it is not all on the organizations, students have to be willing to meet them halfway. There are organizations specifically geared towards minority groups, and helping others on campus to be more educated about the issues these groups might face. Within the forum, it was also added that students who have these concerns should make their opinions known at the Cultural Competency Task Force meetings to help design programs that reach out to diverse students. President Gonzalez concluded the forum by thanking everyone for participating in the discussion, and if any questions went unanswered to talk to him and the other helpful resources offered on FHSU’s campus.
The following announcements were shared at last night’s meeting:
The American Democracy Project is hosting a Times Talk in Forsyth Library next Tuesday at noon.
A presentation over the study abroad opportunity in China will take place next Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in McCartney 301.