SGA Addresses Campus Issues

On Sunday, November 1, members of the Student Government Association (SGA) met to discuss events that have occurred in the past few weeks and initiatives that will be put into action this month.

Members of the executive board discussed events coming up within the next week or two. This week, from Monday, November 2 to Thursday, November 5, members of the first-year class were required to go to the “Dear Class of 2019 Dinners” that were prepared by the SGA. In addition to this, one of the Elections Commissioners, sophomore Alison Sheehan, is working to arrange this semester’s fireside chat for Tuesday, November 9.

Another important initiative that members of the executive board are working on, including Positive Sexuality Liaison sophomore Collin McCarty and Parliamentarian senior Sydney Liggett, is improving the effectiveness of the blue light system on Colgate’s campus. McCarty and Liggett met with Campus Safety to try to increase their responsiveness when someone presses one of the blue lights. This action was taken in response to students noting that they pressed the blue light in the past and nobody showed up, despite the fact that these lights are supposed to be one way to try to ensure the safety of students on campus. The SGA encourages students to share their experiences with the blue light system at Colgate with members of the SGA to make sure that all students’ voices are being expressed. 

At the executive board meeting, chairs of some of the legislative committees discussed the initiatives that they are currently working on. Sophomore Senator Woohee Kim, the head of the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC), spoke about the group’s plans to work on several aspects related to student academics at Colgate. These plans include creating a resolution to increase the GPA required to be on the Dean’s List at Colgate from a GPA of 3.3 or greater to one of 3.6 or higher. Other projects that the AAC is working on are trying to have students’ grades displayed on the Moodle site, encouraging professors to put their syllabi online before the start of the semester so that students can view them and increasing awareness of the program “Degree Works,” which all students have access to through the Colgate portal.

In addition to hearing about the work of the AAC, sophomore Senators Andrew DeFrank and Ryan Stahlin discussed the plans for their respective committees. DeFrank spoke about the Governance Affairs Committee (GAC), which is working to pass a bill that will hold members of the SGA accountable to be certified in specific required trainings, such as Green Certification, Safe Zone and Bystander Intervention. Stahlin, committee chair for the Student Affairs Committee (SAC), talked about the SAC’s plans to try to get approval for an ATM at the library, as well as a “Cider on the Quad” event to try increase student conversations with members of the SGA.

 At the Senate meeting on Tuesday, October 27, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Scott Brown came to speak to all of the members of the SGA from the different branches about the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) survey results, which Vice President and Dean of the College Suzy Nelson shared with the rest of campus in an email sent out on Monday, November 2. The data presents statistics on reports of sexual assault on campus and compares the responses of Colgate students who took the survey to those of students at schools of a similar size. Due to the seriousness of such a topic, and the emotional implications of discussing such an important issue affecting this campus, three brown bags have been arranged for this week. There will be two brown bags held in the chapel basement, one on Thursday, November 5 and another on Wednesday, November 11, as a means for students to discuss the data that was sent out.

First-year senator Wil Stowers also discussed the HEDS data and the need for Colgate to have important discussions about this data on the SGA’s weekly WRCU radio show. Stowers noted the importance of recognizing that statistics are more than just numbers and that these percentages are linked to the experiences of individual students on this campus, which he felt like students are doing a good job of conveying.

At this week’s Senate meeting, on Tuesday, November 3, DeFrank and the GAC hoped to pass the bill on repercussions for SGA members who do not comply to the training requirements. In addition, a group of students interested in having a history club recognized by Colgate went before Senate to have their constitution approved.