SGA seeks to improve campus environment and club relations

SGA President Ben Carrington showed off a draft of the SGA newsletter. (Donald Halsing / THE GATEPOST)

During Open Forum at their meeting on Feb. 5, SGA shared concerns regarding the recent hate crime on campus.

Senator Lexi Dello Iacono said, “I don’t really feel like it’s being addressed properly.” 

She said she saw a post on Facebook about the incident with comments such as, “Definitely not going [to FSU] anymore!” 

She added this response is “such a bad image on us, and I don’t think administration is aware of that happening on social media.”

President Ben Carrington added, “From the student body perspective, it is very frustrating.” 

Carrington said there have been multiple hate crime incidents on campus in his four years as a student. He added SGA will “keep administrators accountable. … We really want to see what’s being done to help out our students.” Carrington plans to reach out to University Police, Student Affairs, and Residence Life. 

Also during Open Forum, Senator Olivia Rothwell said she noticed 4:30 p.m. was “prime time” for student travel and there is only one driver available for the RamTram. Senate Chair Stephanie Bennett – who is also a Student Transportation Center manager – suggested emailing to get the “best response” regarding her concerns.

Senator Amber Magin reported that a speaker in one of the smaller athletic rooms has been “down for … a month or two,” but multiple Facilities requests to repair the speaker remain unresolved. Carrington said “multiple clubs use that room heavily” and he would “see if SGA can help take care of it.”

Carrington also said he has been working on several initiatives to make the McCarthy Center a “more vibrant place,” including the installation of an information kiosk and a mural outside the faculty dining room. 

In comparison to other college centers, which he called the “heart of the campus,” Carrington described the McCarthy Center as a “multipurpose room.” He anticipated the mural will be painted by students from the art department and the kiosk funding proposal will be seen by SGA next week.

Senator mailboxes in the SGA office have been replaced with a club resource area where student organizations can find “any materials they need,” according to Carrington. Senator Matty Bennet “would like to see SGA work more with clubs.”

Carrington also presented a draft of an “SGA newsletter” and discussed the potential for an “engagement week” among SGA and campus clubs.

Fashion Club’s and Brother2Brother’s funding requests were tabled until next week, although members of Fashion Club had attended to present their request. 

Bennett, who is the IGNITE club president, and SGA Vice President Alex Backer, IGNITE club treasurer, presented a funding request for a film screening of “Miss Representation,” co-hosted by M.I.S.S. and Young Democrats Association. The film screening will be held on Mar. 8 in recognition of International Women’s Day. 

SGA allocated $584.10 for the event. Bennett commented, “There’s going to be a lot of people, with three clubs involved. That’s amazing!”

SGA also motioned to purchase a new “flame-retardant” bench for their office with money from SGA’s “general” fund, which currently holds approximately $51,000. The bench will cost $988.

Later in the meeting, senators expressed concerns regarding proposed changes to the University’s alcohol policy.

Carrington said Jay Hurtubise, director of community standards, chose to re-evaluate and propose changes to FSU’s alcohol policy because his office was already in the process of changing marijuana policies in response to recent changes to state laws regarding legalization of marijuana usage.

Student Trustee Ayanna Ferguson voiced confusion about the meaning of “commuter guest restriction.” Carrington said he believes the language of the proposal prevented commuter students in violation of the policy from entering residence halls for a specified period.

Secretary Allie Flood said she served on the committee that drafted the new policy and was “extremely opposed” to language that defines “weekends.” 

The proposed sanctions prevent students in violation of the policy from entering residence halls from Thursday at 6 p.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m. Senators were concerned about students who have Friday classes or classes that run until 6:20 p.m. on Thursdays being able to access their rooms before the restriction takes effect.

Parliamentarian Adam Scanlon said “the [current] punishment of giving somebody homelessness for a week is not really beneficial.” 

Matty Bennet was concerned the new policy had the potential to “literally ruin people’s academic careers.” 

Senator Abigail Salvucci, a resident assistant, said parts of the proposal “need to be fixed.” However, she said “having different levels within it will make it a better community on campus.” 

Ferguson reported to the senate about the “very quick” Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 30. She said the Rams Resource Center is “very well utilized,” and a motion was made by the Board of Trustees to allocate more funding for renovations for the Danforth Museum, which remains under construction. 

Ferguson reported from the Board meeting that the trustees also identified reasons students have transferred out of the University over the past two years. Some answers included moving closer to home, financial insecurity, and students feeling “uncomfortable” on campus. The final reason was: “They got into their first-choice school.”

In other news:

• Matty Bennet received the U-Rock award.

• SGA sang “Happy Birthday” to Ben Carrington.

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