SGA approves funding for ASL and Outing clubs requests, discusses gender-inclusive restrooms

By Branden LaCroix, Staff Writer

SGA approved funding requests for ASL club for an event for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and the Outing Club’s twice-weekly trips to a rock-climbing gym during its first Spring 2022 meeting Jan. 25. 

The ASL club requested $7,000 to fund an event that will feature small business owners and organizations from the deaf community. The funds will be used to rent a stage and invite social justice speakers, the Deaf DJ, “visual vernacular presenters,” and a magician, all of whom are deaf. 

ASL President Mackenzie Lloyd said, “We want to plan an event where we can provide a platform for diverse deaf and hard-of-hearing folks where they’ll be able to promote and share their information about their agencies, their small businesses, and be able to present their hobbies and skills,” and to open “up a space for deaf, hard-of-hearing families to come together, socialize, and have fun.” 

Lloyd said the ASL Club will also be present to provide information about FSU’s ASL programs. 

She added the ASL Club is reaching out to deaf schools and local high schools with ASL programs to invite them to the event, which Lloyd added would allow them to “check out FSU as a potential candidate for their college.” 

SGA has already provided $1,500 as a co-sponsor of the event, and provides $5,000 every semester to hire interpreters, which is included in the funding request. 

Funding for the event was approved unanimously. The event will take place in the Maynard Lot April 23 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Outing Club requested $4,080 for its twice-weekly trips to the Framingham Central Rock Gym. The funding would be used to purchase tickets for eight people per trip to the gym. 

Outing Club President Andrew Doig said the club started making trips to the gym last semester and is “looking to carry it forward into this one.” 

He said the club had “negotiated a discount” with the gym for $15 per ticket. 

Doig said students wanting to go on the trips will not have to buy or rent their own equipment as it is included with the tickets. 

The funding request was passed unanimously. 

President Kenzie Ward said she spoke with Meg Nowak Borrego, dean of students, about changing one of the two women’s bathrooms on the second floor of the McCarthy Center into a gender-inclusive bathroom. 

Ward said she and Eric Nguyen, director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence, discussed the issue last semester. She said, “He and I noticed that there are no multiuser gender-inclusive restrooms located on campus. They’re all single user.” 

Ward said there is one gender-inclusive restroom located in the McCarthy Center, but said it is difficult to locate. “You have to go through the Forum or go through the dining office to get to it and there’s no visible signage.” She added the only way to know about it is through the FSU website. 

“I just don’t think it’s fair to make those who decide to use a gender-inclusive bathroom have to do so much just to find a restroom on campus,” she said. 

If the request is approved, converting one of the restrooms will need a renovation as the new restroom will require “floor-to-ceiling” stalls and a reworking of the sprinkler system. 

“It’s not as easy as just putting up a new sign,” Ward said. “It’s a little more expansive than I thought it was going to be.” 

Ward presented a memo to be included with Nowak Borrego’s request. The memo states, “Gender-inclusive restrooms provide a safe and private facility for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, parents and guardians of young children, and people who require assistance when using the facilities.” 

The memo also states, “The creation of a multiuser gender-inclusive restroom would be a step forward in our University’s commitment to inclusive excellence.” 

During open forum, Secretary Sam Houle said while in five-day quarantine, meals were not delivered to him because his meal plan had not started yet. 

Houle said he did not receive meals for the first three days of his quarantine and “had to resort to getting food through a five-gallon bucket on a rope made of trash bags.” 

Dara Barros, diversity and inclusion officer, said she has heard student concerns with the new student contract that students must agree to before they can register for classes. 

According to Barros, three students told her they had to pay their bill in full before they were allowed to register for classes. 

“It’s so hard for students to come back already,” she said. “And this is just an extra step that they have to take.”  

Vice President Emma Sullivan said she has issues with student teaching not qualifying as a paid internship. 

She said, “Every single grant that I’ve applied to is saying that it’s unavailable for student teachers.

“I just think it’s wrong that, in order for us to get our degree, we have to work full time for free,” she added. 

President Ward said she has concerns with the University’s communication with students, claiming many FSU departments readily speak with faculty and staff, but not students. 

She said, “I feel like students are sometimes forgotten in conversations.” 

She added, “As a student, it makes me feel like I’m not welcomed here at FSU.” 

During officer reports, Ward, speaking on behalf of Student Activities Trust Fund Treasurer John Finkle, said there may be budget cuts to SGA due to low enrollment. 

During the President’s report, Ward said she is working on a student survey with Rachel Lucking, assistant dean of Student Engagement, about the Student Commuter Lounge in the McCarthy Center. 

She said, “We’re looking into what could make the Commuter Lounge more appealing to students, especially commuters, and seeing what things could benefit commuters in that space.” 

Ward announced she is planning a “hot-chocolate bar” on Feb. 8 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 

During the Vice President’s report, Emma Sullivan announced the Drag Bingo event featuring drag queen Mayhem Miller, which will take place Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in DPAC. 

Sullivan added she requested a table in the McCarthy Center for a Black Lives Matter banner that students can sign to show support. 

During the advisor’s report, SGA Advisor Sara Gallegos said two search committees for University provost and the vice president of DICE are underway.