Student senators discuss on-campus safety concerns

BY CORIE LYNN

Thursday’s Student Government Association meeting was preceded by the organization’s spring Town Hall. Because of this, much of the discussion at the SGA meeting stemmed from concerns brought to the senators earlier in the evening.

One of the greatest concerns discussed that night was that of on-campus safety being as students at the Town Hall didn’t feel as though they had adequate knowledge of on-campus safety precautions. This includes emergency numbers posted on light poles, the emergency systems located on touch screens across campus and the LifeSafe app.

After Sen. Nia Ward broached this topic during the open forum, President Brad DeMers explained that each semester the SGA Executive Staff does a safety walk with other campus entities to check that there are no dark spots and that all safety systems are working properly.

“We’ve made progress, but, yes, there still needs to be education,” DeMers said.

The senators emphasized that they would like to see new ways of better-educating students on the safety measures on campus. Dr. Teresa Clounch, advisor to the SGA, joined in the conversation that she, too, was searching for ways to spread awareness of the LiveSafe app.

“It’s a great thing to have,” she said. Dr. Clounch explained that the app allows a student to quickly call emergency services and tracks walks home. The updated version of it also includes new campus buildings as well as latitude and longitude lines to better identify a student’s location during emergencies.

Besides safety systems, students were also concerned about blind spots on the streets around campus, particularly by Victor E. Village and the off-campus bookstore. DeMers assured the senators that he would bring these to the attention of Facility Planning.

While these concerns made up the largest portion of the night’s discussion, the meeting began with reports from the Executive Staff.

DeMers reported that he met with a candidate for the new Dean of the College of Business. In addition, the Virtual Student Senate accepted the changes the SGA is making to its bi-laws and the Student Government is looking to provide mental health services for the University’s online population.

Vice President Michael Musgrove began by reminding the senators to love the people around them before continuing to the rest of his report. He then informed the senators that there would be a sign up for SGA office shifts to answer allocations questions, the goal being to have someone available at all times to answer questions.

Musgrove also informed the Senate that the General Education Committee is reviewing the new standard of “Intercultural competence” and considering how this should be defined.

For her report, Legislative Affairs Director Kaytee Wisley informed the Senate that the Voting Friendly committee has made changes to its structure and that she would like another senator to attend Higher Education Day on Feb. 18.

Community Relations Director Jacki Dougherty followed with her report, stating that she believed the spring Town Hall went well. She also reminded the senators that the Landlord Fair will be held Feb. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m., and that during this time, students search for housing or have leases reviewed by Kansas legal services.

The final report came from Administrative Assistant McKenzie Cunnigham. She informed the Senate that she is helping to plan a Sexual Assault Awareness Week with FHSU Student Engagement. She also noted that prices at the on-campus Starbucks went up sixty cents and that this change appears to be a decision by corporate.

Committees, including the Appropriations and Legislative & Political Action committees, largely reported that they had bills up for first and second readings, though the LPAC also mentioned that several students have shown interest in interviewing for senatorial positions.

Sen. Becker of the Allocations Committee also mentioned that the next allocations workshop is Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. in the Stouffer Lounge. The allocations deadline is the following day.

With the conclusion of reports, the Senate heard three new bills then voted on four old bills and one resolution.

Two of the bills installed Spencer Manning as a new Student Justice and Morgan Boeger as a new Student Senator. The two other bills allowed for a new line item for the GSA and appropriated funds to the Delta Zeta sorority. The resolutions allowed for the SGA to request higher education funding of the State of Kansas.

Following announcements, the meeting concluded. The Student Senate will reconvene on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.

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