By Shelby Brown–
The SGA Senate meetings passed several resolutions pertaining to the student body. The senators met tirelessly drafting and revising the resolutions, sending them back to committees and brining them before the Senate for readings. The Cardinal recounts 2016-2017 resolutions and those to be on the lookout for in the 2017-2018 year.
A Resolution Providing the Establishment of a Student Body Representative on the U of L Foundation Board of Directors
Due to the impact the Foundation’s decisions have on student life, Senator Landon Lauder’s resolution asked for a student representative to have a permanent seat on the foundation. The resolution was passed. It allows the current SGA President full voting privileges to better “represent the students of the University of Louisville,” according to the resolution’s text.
The student representative position changes at the expiration of the presidential term. Currently, Aaron Vance holds the seat. Vishnu Tirumala will be taking over as the newly elected SGA President.
Student Solidarity Act
The act supports international students affected by the executive order President Donald Trump signed Jan. 27. Co-author Lily Assgari hopes the act will make students feel more comfortable and engaged on campus.
The act, passed Feb. 14, acknowledged the diversity of U of L and the SGA constitution’s preamble’s promise to “to promote and protect student rights.”
“I hope them knowing that they have the support of the students here will help them have the confidence to speak our when they feel wronged,” Assgari said.
A Resolution to Bring Belknap Campus into ADA Compliance with Braille
The act, authored by Kent School’s Keith Auspland says U of L is inconsistent in its accommodations for visually impaired students. These inconsistencies can result in disadvantages or injuries for students. Auspland said seeing students struggle to find their way on campus without braille was “heartbreaking.”
Auspland conducted much of his own research before presenting the resolution to the SGA Senate. He canvased the entire Belknap campus, checking inside each building for braille.
“‘Out of compliance’ is a difficult term to explain due to the number of “grandfather” clauses that exist in the law. Buildings built before the 1970’s are considered grandfathered due to their age. However; any NEW construction needs to be in compliance,” Auspland said.
Auspland hopes that with older buildings being renovated they too will be brought up to code.
Course Evaluation Diversity Resolution
Current Arts and Sciences college President Jessica Morgan criticized the current format of course evaluations. The act said the current course evaluations method of collecting information lacks the benefits that a more inclusive environment provides.
Morgan brought forth a resolution to adhere to U of L’s Vision of Diversity.
“The student body…strongly encourages the University to include a component of inclusion and ability to facilitate diversity…to the course evaluations of both the professors and courses at the close of each term,” the resolution said.
Balanced Life Student Resource Act
Author Natalia Bilchuk sought to create a “comprehensive online directory for student well-being.” The directory would include LGBTQ services, veteran services, services for students who are parents, help for disabled students, etc. The Services Vice President will be in charge of the project.
“The resolution for student resources was inspired by a noticeably higher attrition rate in students with more demands on their life balance and higher home-life stressors that impede their academic performance,” Bilchuk said. “While UofL has numerous resources, they are often difficult to search for when a student is in a difficult situation, and if all the available resources were provided on a single page (or) platform, all students would have to do is go to that page and search for the needs they currently have which could span anything from a counseling session about stress relief, to referrals to programs that can help them complete their degrees.”
Addition of Gender Neutral Restrooms to U of L
Authored again by Bilchuk, the resolution “strongly encourages the addition of gender-neutral restrooms to all university instructional buildings to support the diversity and individuality of all students, faculty, staff, administrators, and guests.”
The resolution echoes sentiments from the SGA, LGBTQ center and U of L’s Diversity and International Affair’s center.
“With such diversity and support from the PEACC center and LGBTQ center at HSC for all our students, and given all the news and controversy on the matter in recent years, I thought it was an opportune time to bring up the gender-neutral bathrooms resolution,” Bilchuck said.
The act says U of L’s students, faculty and staff are constantly trying to remove sexual or gender based discrimination.
“It is my hope that UofL can continue to grow in its diversity and support of all of its students, faculty, administrators, and visitors,” Bilchuk said.
Addition of Lactation Rooms to Instructional Buildings Act
Bilchuk also noticed the lack of spaces available for those at U of L who were breastfeeding. The resolution said that “existing” spaces weren’t easily accessible, safe or nurturing. Multiple medical students brought this to her attention.
“The dedication these women have to their education and their families is truly remarkable, and while the medical school had one space within the basement of our instructional building, it was not a place that many students felt comfortable and safe enough to be able to pump breast milk,” Bilchuk said.
The resolution’s goal is to add “appropriate, well advertised lactation rooms” to all instruction buildings for those who breastfeed.
A Resolution For the Preservation of SGA Democratic Electoral Integrity at U of L
Before the 2017-2018 SGA elections, resulting in Vishnu Tirumala being elected president, several senators drafted a resolution regarding campaign funds. Lauder, Assgari and Senator Paul Thompson authored an act to prevent outside monetary contributions from aiding SGA candidates.
“(I)t is the prerogative of the student body to hold all U of L Student Government Association candidates to a high moral and ethical standard, as they would represent student interests and only student interests if elected,” the resolution reads.
The passed resolution denounces outside contributions to SGA candidates “local, state, or national, public or private,” according to the SGA Election Rules.