SGA discusses snow removal and textbook costs

SGA discussed snow removal and mask filters, among other concerns, during its Jan. 26 meeting over Zoom.

Student Trustee McKenzie Ward started open forum by raising concerns about the lack of timely snow removal on campus.

Ward said, “With the snow today, I was trying to get up the Towers Hill to park behind Larned. They hadn’t plowed at all. My car almost actually went down the hill, so that’s extremely dangerous. I think maybe being a little bit more proactive.”

She said she also slipped on the stairs behind the McCarthy Center because they had not been salted and shoveled.

SGA Advisor Sara Gallegos recommended Ward report the incidents to FSU Campus Police.

Senator Eryca Carrier also expressed concern over the lack of communication regarding snow emergency parking.

“[There was] no email about changing our parking or anything today [Jan. 26],” Carrier said. “I feel like that might pose an issue soon – particularly for commuters because it’s really hard to clear the whole lot considering it’s full of cars right now.”

Senator Hillary Nna discussed the videos transfer students are required to watch about sex and consent.

“If we’re doing trainings that aren’t really teaching us how to respect each other, and respectfully address and talk about these issues and the seriousness of them, I think that’s an issue,” she said. 

Nna then commented on the similarities between the FSU seal and the seal of Massachusetts. 

Nna said, “Governor Baker just signed into law a committee that is going to review that seal. There’s a lot of issues that the native community has had with it. I didn’t know … if we could use what the state is doing to help push stuff with our school crest.”

SGA President Olivia Beverlie said the Institutional Inclusive Excellence Committee has been working on the seal since last semester and has “been talking to the local native tribes about what specifically we should be doing about this and involving them within the discussions. 

“This is going to have to be more than just us changing our seal – we’re trying to do a lot of education surrounding it,” she said. 

Nna also raised concern about mask filters not lasting for very long.

“They’re handing out new masks again, and I know we talked about the filters not lasting very long. So I was wondering if they were going to hand out filters or if we could advocate for that,” Nna said. 

Beverlie said she had already ordered COVID-19 personal protective equipment during the fall semester.

“We ordered hand soaps, hand sanitizers, and enough mask filters to give each student like five. And then we also ordered stress balls. My idea with that is we can give them out at testing like kind of how we did the vote masks,” she said.

Senators will be expected to help pack the grab-and-go bags, according to Beverlie.

Nna then proposed a free textbook swap for students. 

“We could organize a free book exchange,” Nna said. “Just from last semester, I have a bunch of textbooks that I would love to gift to somebody so that they don’t need to struggle at all.”

During her report, Ward said she has started to plan the Administrators’ Forum for “hopefully sometime later in February” as well as working on the new SGA newsletter. 

She encouraged senators to write about any committees they may be sitting on or work that SGA is doing, such as engagement, anti-transphobia or anti-homophobia.

Beverlie said there are still committees that need student representation on them. 

“For those of you who are upperclassmen and aren’t sitting on a committee yet, please reach out to me,” she said. “As of right now, [All University Committee] is still full but we could always use another person on [University Curriculum Committee], [Academic Policies Committee]. … Just reach out to me and we can figure that out.”

SGA was due to swear in a new senator, but the senator was not present at the meeting.

Student Activities Trust Fund Treasurer Ewnie Fedna said Big Budget will happen on Feb. 19. 

She said the Finance Committee is “just nearing the end of seeing all of the organizations before we do grouping and vote on those groupings and allocations for Big Budget,” and they plan to see all organizations by Feb. 4. 

Outreach and Events Coordinator Mariah Farris said she met with Gallegos to brainstorm ideas for events this semester. 

“We came up with a few ideas on how we can get this semester rolling and what we can do to get some of the students back on point with each other, and connecting and engaging with each other.”

Diversity and Inclusion Officer Paola Bilbraut said she spoke with Lorretta Holloway, vice president for enrollment and student development, about setting a date to show the “Black Boys” documentary. 

“There’s a panel on the 18th for the documentary and a processing on the 25th, so ideally we’d want to show it anytime before then so that we can advertise,” she said.

She also said that she had continued thinking about creating a subcommittee to “come up with ideas, separate from the activities in regards to affinity groups and diversity on campus.”

Gallegos said there are fewer residents living on campus this semester than last semester.

“I haven’t gotten the final reports, but we’re seeing 100 to 200 fewer students living on campus – just so you all know that’s kind of like the outlook of what we’re seeing with students,” she said. “We also don’t know what enrollment numbers are like for the spring semester because add/drop is next week.”

Gallegos added it is very important for all students coming on campus to get tested for COVID-19 weekly on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Beverlie said, “If you do live on campus and you don’t get tested, you will get kicked out of the residence halls.”

Ward announced the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has changed the requirement for student trustees to be full-time students –  part-time students are now eligible.

She said, “[This] is huge for community colleges, especially since a majority of their students are part-time, so, this opens up the student trustee position and makes it more accessible to all students, rather than the full-time students.”

Ward added, “I think that’s a huge win for part-time students and even full-time students because no student should be left out of the governing process of their school.”

[Editor’s Note: Student Trustee McKenzie Ward serves as Opinions Editor for The Gatepost.]