First SGA meeting of term

Ethan SabettaContributor

On Sept. 10, the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a weekly body meeting to discuss subjects of interest from all facets of the campus. The meeting began with executive reports, first presented by Association President Sarah Gossman. 

Gossman opened with an announcement regarding revisions to the liberal education program. During the revision process, student input is preferred, and Gossman explained how SGA expects to have a large role in coordinating this student input. “I think student government is gonna have a big role in this, of getting student input, whether it’s releasing forms, whether it’s posting forms. I think it’s going to be a really good thing that we’re going to be doing,” Gossman explained.  

Following the executive reports, Brandon Iovene–Vice President of the Board of Student Experiences–discussed several concerns. In particular, COVID-19 protocols were a subject of conversation. “If you are a vaccinated student, you do not have to be tested weekly, and if you are unvaccinated and you have submitted your documentation of a non-medical or medical exemption, you are tested on a weekly basis,” Iovene said, reiterating university policy.  

Lovene also detailed conversations held with Erin Duff, the university’s wellness coordinator, regarding the state of vaccination rates on campus. “Most students were looking for FDA approval, which if you know last week the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine fully. Erin has reached out to those students who expressed, and she has reported that she’s gotten actually a lot of responses from students that they have booked their vaccine appointments,” said Lovene. 

 After Lovene spoke, Vice President of the Board of Academic Experiences Krista Jones presented board concerns regarding the way classes have been conducted this semester. “We discussed issues with modality changes recently. Some professors have switched classes from in-person to online without notification and without going through what seems to be the proper channels. We’re having discussions about that… and we’ll just see how we address that moving forward,” Jones said.

 In a similar vein, Jones also mentioned concerns over class enrollment challenges. “There have been instances where students have been kicked out of classes by their [degree evaluation] or by the registration on Banner Web because [prerequisites] were added after the fact,” said Jones. 

 When board reports were concluded, conversation shifted back to Lovene, or discussion of a training program provided by Connecticut Students for a Dream. “[The training program] helps to educate students about how to support your peers who have undocumented status with their citizenship,” Lovene explained.  

“We wanted student government to be very active as an organization… hosting stuff where we would be holding ourselves accountable to saying, ‘we are a social justice institution’,” Gossman said of the program. “So, learning about this stuff, not only doing training for [Student Government Association] stuff but making sure we’re going to events that embody social justice as well.” 

Daphney Alston, advisor to SGA provided her own insight after having trained with Connecticut Students for a Dream when it was hosted five years ago. “They challenged [the Student Government Association] to figure out how you make sure you are looking through the lens of an undocumented student when you are making recommendations for policy changes on behalf of the student body… It was really beneficial five years ago and it’s well overdue for SGA to do it again,” said Alston.

After a detailed discussion of what this training program would entail, the funding to host Connecticut Students for a Dream was put to a vote and passed unanimously. As such, the $750 fee attached to the training was approved, and SGA is prepared for the program in early October. 

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