SA passes resolution for more security cameras following swastika incidents

Sen. Thomas Falcigno, CCAS-U, sponsored a resolution passed by the Student Assocation Wednesday night calling for more security after swastikas were posted in International House. Elizabeth Lane | Hatchet Photographer
Sen. Thomas Falcigno, CCAS-U, sponsored a resolution passed by the Student Assocation Wednesday night calling for more security after swastikas were posted in International House. Elizabeth Lane | Hatchet Photographer

The Student Association Senate passed a resolution Monday asking the University to install more security cameras in residence halls after swastikas were posted two times in International House within three weeks.

Sen. Thomas Falcigno, CCAS-U, said the bill would provide necessary security measures in public spaces, like near elevators and in residence hall lobbies. He said he will ask GW and the University Police Department to install cameras in those locations.

“Moving forward, this resolution would encourage the University to take a more active approach not only to prevent instances but also make sure we can increase the safety of our students that live in residence halls,” Falcigno said.

In February, three swastikas were drawn on the walls of International House, which houses students in sororities and fraternities. Three weeks later, a member of Zeta Beta Tau posted a swastika on the fraternity’s floor in International House.

Falcigno added that after the first incident, the University installed a security camera in the lobby of International House.

“In the first instance of 3 swastikas posted, if we had security camera we could find out who did this and UPD would not have to go through hours of footage to see who entered,” Falcigno said.

The bill also asked the senate to formally condemn the postings of the swastikas. The Metropolitan Police Department is now investigating both incidents as hate crimes.

Sen. Ben Pryde, U-at-Large, said while it may seem “redundant” for the SA to condemn the acts after the University issued a similar release, it is important “that students say this is not okay as well.”

The SA also passed a bill that allows graduate student organizations to include more groups in their umbrella organizations in order to better distribute funding. More than a half-dozen graduate student leaders attended the meeting and spoke in support of the bill.

Stuart Portman, president of the Public Health Student Association, said the bill would better help his organization and others plan events around the schedules of graduate students.

“Being a graduate student at GW doesn’t mean we’re trying to sanction ourselves off, it means we’re trying to make ourselves the best that we can be so we can collaborate with the entire GW community,” he said.

Joseph Cordes, the chair of the Faculty Senate’s finance committee, also addressed the SA Senate in preparation for a resolution the group will vote on next week regarding the University’s tuition benefits policy for staff members. It was the first time a member of the Faculty Senate spoke to the SA Senate in recent history.

Staff began protesting last year after GW administrators rolled back tuition benefits for those employees, which staffers used to take GW courses at a discounted rate. The Faculty Senate passed a resolution in December that would allow student employees to keep their current benefits and University President Steven Knapp launched a task force looking into the University’s current benefits in January.

“You all benefit from this,” Cordes said, encouraging senators to approve the resolution at the next meeting. “I’m sure they can appreciate similar support from students.”

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