SA Senate passes resolution supporting accessibility bill

The SA Senate passed a resolution Monday night to support accessibility of online materials for disabled students. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer
The SA Senate passed a resolution Monday night to support accessibility of online materials for disabled students. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

The Student Association Senate passed a resolution Monday night in support of a congressional bill to increase accessibility of educational materials for the hearing and visually impaired.

The senate voted unanimously in favor of the resolution, which backs the Access to Instructional Materials of Higher Education Act. If passed by the House Representatives, the act would create a commission to compile a list of voluntary guidelines universities should follow to prevent those with disabilities from being unable to access resources.

The resolution addresses a described “inadequate level” of accessibility for visually and hearing impaired students on GW websites like admissions, Banweb and Blackboard.

Sen. Peak Sen Chua, MISPH-U, said the bill will place an emphasis on the need for GW to make sure that access to instructional materials, which can affect student’s grades, are equal for everyone.

“What the bill does is reaffirms our principle as an inclusive, friendly environment,” Chua said.

Disability Support Services offers academic services like sign language interpreting and real-time captioning transcription for hearing impaired students and converting textbooks to alternative forms like audiobooks for visually impaired students.

The senate also unanimously passed a bill clarifying that graduate student umbrella organizations can access and use all of the money in their SA general fund. Student groups can receive an allocation for the next fiscal year based on the amount students contributed this year.

In 2015, the senate passed a bill allowing these umbrella organizations to start collecting money through student fees to make sure that graduate student fees went toward events for those students, instead of programming designed for undergraduates that they can’t participate in.

Sen. Elena Kuo-LeBlanc, SOB-G, said she sponsored the bill because she would like graduate students to be able to hold more events to bring the community together.

“We do have a shorter time frame at GW,” Kuo-LeBlanc said, “There are students who never see their funds.”

Kuo-LeBlanc added that the funds would be used to hold more social events for the graduate community, ;ole happy hours.

Three students were also unanimously appointed to the Joint Elections Committee.

Aimee Triana, who worked on the committee last year, said she would focus on social media advertising. Alex Simone, who has been on the committee for the past two years, said she would like to focus on making sure the elections are held during a time when graduate students are on campus. Teddy Clamp, who also served the past two years, said he would focus on making sure there are no campaign violations.

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