An increase in COVID-19 cases and allegations of students not following pandemic protocols were among the issues discussed by SGA during its latest Zoom meeting Nov. 10.
During open forum, several members of SGA raised concerns about allegations of students seen not wearing masks and attending parties.
Vice President Abigail Salvucci said, “I’ve noticed an uptick in parties both on- and off-campus, and I’m upset with how [administrators] have responded to it.
“If you’re on campus, you noticed the uptick in positive and isolation cases on campus last week, and it’s kind of bonkers that nothing’s been done just because they’re off-campus parties.”
President Olivia Beverlie said she discussed students attending parties off campus with Dean of Students Meg Nowak Borrego.
Beverlie said, “I think it’s still a really big issue – especially when COVID is spread so easily, and it’s resident students going to these parties. They’ve been bringing it back to their respective dorms and that is dangerous for all of us.”
Senator Eryca Carrier said, “I’ve noticed some of the people that were involved at these parties are student employees.
“That is a particular concern, and I think that is an area that Residence Life or the University may have jurisdiction over,” she added.
Beverlie motioned to add a discussion to the agenda regarding the possibility of canceling in-person classes following Thanksgiving break.
She said, “A lot of universities are canceling in-person classes after Thanksgiving.
“It’s too late to change this semester like that, but it is not too late to possibly cancel in-person classes or at least, highly recommend it,” she added.
Salvucci is also an administrative resident assistant for Miles Bibb Hall, and oversees Linsley Hall, the designated isolation building for students who test positive for COVID-19.
She said, “I’ve had to talk to people in Linsley who are in quarantine because they were breaking the rules.
“I don’t think students get that they are putting my life directly at risk,” she added.
“Right now, we are looking at hitting max capacity [in Linsley Hall] within the next week, and that is 39 students.”
Salvucci said canceling in-person classes following Thanksgiving would “alleviate the stress on student workers who are dealing firsthand with the students who are positive and who are quarantining.”
Senator Emily Rosenberg said, “One of my personal concerns is that I know a lot of other people who are living here because they have at-home situations where they believe that their academic situation would go down if they went home.”
But she added that students are “getting too comfortable with the situation here,” and suggested “we [the University] could try and educate people more on what COVID is actually about.”
SGA also discussed a resolution to get FSU to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day.
Student Trustee McKenzie Ward proposed the resolution, which was unanimously approved.
Ward said, “Columbus should not be glorified. He is responsible for the genocide of thousands and thousands of Native people, and he should no longer be seen in our history as someone who deserves a holiday.”
The resolution states the change to Indigenous Peoples’ Day will be “to celebrate and honor Native American peoples and to commemorate Native American history and culture.”
Ward said the University will send out a survey to all students asking whether to change the holiday or keep it as is.
SGA swore in a new senator, freshman Emily Rosenberg, during the meeting.
Beverlie said, “She’s really motivated to be here, and I think she offers a unique perspective because she will be the second freshman senator we have here.”
Beverlie also discussed a program that would provide supplies such as mask filters for the Ram masks, hand sanitizer, and stress balls, that would be handed out in “care packages” to students on campus.
She also discussed a potential “stamp program,” in which students can mail letters to family members for the holidays.
“We ordered a lot of stamps, thinking we were going to be able to use some for absentee ballots,” she said. “But unfortunately, we were not able to do that in time.”
[Editor’s Note: McKenzie Ward is Opinions Editor for The Gatepost. Emily Rosenberg is a Staff Writer for The Gatepost.]