SGA shares concerns about inclusivity policies

By Sophia Harris, Asst. News Editor

SGA discussed inclusivity issues and changes to their constitution as well as SGA election nominations at their meeting April 6.

Anthony Sims, a sophomore English major, raised concerns about not having straws available in the dining hall during the open forum.

Sims said it prevents his father, who is “physically disabled,” from coming to FSU and eating with him. 

“That would be one of the many reasons why he would not want to come to this school. He wants to come to visit me more, but he doesn’t want to at the same time because, specifically, he can’t get a bite to eat here,” Sims said.

He added it would be a “quality of life improvement” for all students.

Emma Sullivan, vice president, said, “It is an accessibility issue and we pride ourselves on being an accessible campus. We’ll definitely send that note to Aretha Phillips,” director of Dining Services.

Outreach and Events Coordinator Emily Rosenberg said a prospective student approached her at Rams Rising this past weekend, and asked to be directed to a bathroom with a changing table for her child. 

She said she was not aware if FSU had any changing tables in their bathrooms.

She added Dean of Students Meg Nowak Borrego and Executive Vice President Dale Hamel were also not able to direct the mother to a bathroom with a changing table.

Rosenberg said, “They had to change in a locker room and that was obviously unsafe and uncomfortable for the mother and child.”

She said it was “very concerning” that she could not offer a bathroom with a changing station. 

Senator Raffi Elkhoury said because of the lack of gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus, a possible solution to both problems would be to create a “family restroom” with a changing table and a gender-neutral label in order to “kill two birds with one stone.”

President McKenzie Ward asked to “start a conversation” about the allocation of unallocated SGA funds to the library for menstrual products in bathrooms.

She said during her conversation with University staff, concerns were raised about the accessibility of free menstrual products on campus.

Ward said, “The Health Center and the Rams Resource Center are only open during certain hours of the week, making them not accessible” for students who need menstrual products. 

She said the library would be an ideal place to carry menstrual products because it is open seven days a week and is available to both commuter and residential students. 

Ward said Millie González, dean of the Henry Whittemore Library, is advocating for free menstrual products to be supplied in both male and female bathrooms.  

She said González is currently looking into non-profits to supply menstrual hygiene products for the library.

Ward said when she is aware of the cost of menstrual hygiene products needed in the library, she will ask for an allocation from SGA on a semester basis.  

SGA passed a motion to allocate $6,000 for the Student Veterans and Military Services for new carpeting. 

During New Business, Sullivan said there have been changes to the SGA constitution and bylaws.

These changes included an amendment to article VI specifying that students must be full-  or part-time undergraduate students in order to serve as trustees.

Ward said they changed the requirement to attend the Statewide Student Advisory Council from mandatory to “highly encouraged.”

She said SGA added an amendment that student trustees would serve on the Framingham State Board of Trustees and will attend its meetings in accordance with the responsibilities described in Massachusetts General Laws. 

Ward added student trustees will then report to SGA within two weeks on what was discussed at the Board of Trustees meetings.

She said SGA has also changed a subsection that states the student trustee takes office after elections and remains in office until July 1 of the following year. 

If the predecessor student trustee graduates or leaves before July 1, the succeeding trustee will assume responsibility on the date of their leave, according to Ward.

She added student trustees must complete eight hours of state-required training in order to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Dara Barros, diversity and inclusion officer, motioned to make the changes to the constitution in article VI section VI. The motion passed unopposed.

Sullivan said nominations for the SGA election are open now until April 14 on RamLink.

The “U-Rock” was awarded to Rosenberg by Senator Mark Haskell for her hard work and dedication in the past week. 

Haskell said her hard work deserves “commemoration.”