Student Association Senate establishes student justice commission

The Student Association Senate unanimously passed an act Monday creating  a commission for students to voice concerns about the accountability, efficiency and transparency for University offices and departments.

The Fairness Advocacy and Inclusion Reform Act will create the Commission on Student Equity and Advocacy, which will work with University officials and offices to discuss potential policy changes and report on the strengths and weaknesses of the Title IX Office, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. SA Sen. Henry Deng, CCAS-U sponsored the bill and said the commission will study how the University can change its policies to help students receive justice on issues like in-class racism and sexual assault promptly.

“This commission will set up a path for the Student Association to provide more support for the student body and to protect student rights with a consistent advocacy mechanism of accountability for the University,” he said during the meeting.

The senate also unanimously passed the Senate Seats Conversion Act, which will convert two seats from the undergraduate business school to undergraduate-at-large seats, meaning that a student from any undergraduate school may hold this position. Senate Chairperson Pro Tempore Demetrius Apostolis, CCAS-U, who sponsored the bill, said the Governance and Nominations Committee is set to enter its fourth round of applications to fill the seats.

“All we have left to fill in the entire senate is those seats and one graduate at-large and we have completely filled the senate,” Apostolis said. “That is the first time that has happened in a few years, if I’m not mistaken.”

The last time all senate seats were filled was October 2017, according to Hatchet archives.

Apostolis said that while the Governance and Nominations Committee have had multiple undergraduate business applicants, they withdrew before the committee officially considered them for the seats.

The senate unanimously approved four students to graduate-at-large senate seats. These seats can be held by graduate students from any school.

SA President Christian Zidouemba said the University will begin offering “wellness vending machines” after spring break where Tylenol, Advil, Plan B and other products will be available for purchase for students.

The Governing Documents Committee announced it discussed Article 15 of the SA Constitution, which garnered criticism from senators that it was too vague after executive cabinet members used it to attempt to remove Zidouemba last summer.

SA Sen. Kai Simson, CPS-G, resigned as chair of the sustainability committee in an effort to allow for a “smooth transition” to the next chair as he enters his final semester at GW. The vice chair, SA Sen. Brita Ostermeier, CCAS-G, will now be the acting chair of the sustainability committee.

SA Sen. Ian Ching, ESIA-U and chair of the finance committee, submitted his resignation following a report that accused him of negligence and bias in his position. Senators elected SA Sen. Linsi Goodin, CCAS-G, to take over as chair of the committee.

The next Senate meeting will be held Dec. 5 at 8:30 p.m. in the Elliott School State Room.

Erika Filter contributed reporting. 

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