Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia
Rev. Guillermo (Memo) Campuzano, C.M. and others from the Division of Mission and Ministry joined DePaul’s Student Government Association (SGA) during its general body meeting on Thursday to discuss reviewing, and possibly revising, DePaul’s Mission Statement.
Every five years, DePaul’s Board of Trustees reviews the mission statement.
Joyana Dvorak, the associate director for Vincentian Service and Formation, asked SGA members several questions to consider when evaluating the mission statement.
The Division of Mission and Ministry will host a dialogue on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to discuss reviewing and potentially revising DePaul’s mission statement.
After speaking with the members from the division of mission and ministry, SGA moved to other items on its agenda.
Deputy Chief Justice Appointment
Kelsee Avery, SGA’s executive secretary and chair/chief justice of the Judicial Board (J Board), discussed appointing Wesley Janicki, SGA’s executive vice president of facility operations, as deputy chief justice to J Board.
Avery explained that the deputy chief justice helps the chief justice and, would step in the chief justice’s place in the event they could not fulfill their duties and manage case material if there were a case or a hearing.
Members then moved to vote on his appointment and confirmed him to the position.
SGA President Alyssa Isberto updated members on the Board of Trustees’ meeting. According to Isberto, who sits on the board, said it covered issues with student enrollment.
“They were just sharing with the board challenges to enrollment and how we are compared to our competitors like … other universities that are local to us and other private Catholic universities,” Isberto said.
SGA Advisor Courtney James went over this year’s enrollment numbers after attending the State of the University Address.
“The freshman class is the largest class that DePaul has ever seen,” James said. “This year we have 2,774 first- year students … 49 percent of them are students of color, 34 percent are first generation and 32 percent of them are out of state. So that is up six percent … which is significantly higher than the national average.”
Despite an increase in first- year student enrollment, James said enrolment has decreased among other grade levels.
“We have dropped in sophomores, juniors, seniors and grad students,” James said. “So, our total number of students is down 142 students which equates to 0.6 percent.”
The board also discussed the “Now We Must” campaign, reviewing the mission statement with Fr. Memo and the “Ban the Box” initiative.
Isberto said that Students Against Incarceration, an organization at DePaul, “spearheaded” the initiative and how SGA stood “in solidarity” with the organization.
“If you guys didn’t know, we passed a resolution about it … this year,” Isberto said.
Isberto explained that the board decided to move the box to after the application process instead of doing away with it entirely.
“Their way of thinking was that they didn’t want to deter anyone from withdrawing their application because they came across this question and so, rather than removing it completely, they added it till after the application process,” Isberto said.
Isberto said it will take one to two years until the move is implemented.
Isberto also discussed remote learning and the upcoming presidential election and the impact they have had on students’ mental health.
Other items Isberto mentioned in her report includes the policy review group, which is currently reviewing three policies: the affirmative action plan, the protection of minor children, and the Title IX sexual harassment policy and procedures.
Isberto encouraged members to complete a Google Form relating to questions and concerns for President A. Gabriel Esteban who will be attending one of SGA’s meetings in the coming weeks, this year’s Blue Demon Week and a Halloween party which will be hosted by the Division of Student Affairs.
Vice President’s Report
SGA Vice President Watfae Zayed reminded SGA members to attend the G.B. retreat which took place Saturday.
Advising Report with Courtney James
James reminded SGA members, particularly the senators of DePaul’s academic colleges, about participating in this year’s tree lighting ceremony.
James also encouraged all students to come up with a plan to vote in this year’s election.
New Business and Questions, Comments and Concerns
Francesca La Rocca, SGA’s senator for transfer students, updated SGA members on the Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee.
“As I talked about last meeting, the Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee is kind of up and starting,” La Rocca said. “We’re going to have our first official meeting this coming week. I also had a chance to meet with Courtney [James] regarding some of the things we talked about, especially mental health in connection to this year’s election.”
La Rocca said she and James are working on a panel event scheduled for Nov. 2 discussing ways for students to take care of themselves “during this time of kind of a lot of political uncertainty.”
Afterwards, Jane Pallos, SGA’s elections coordinator, talked about SGA’s elections. Read about the results of the election here.
When asked if the university has any “contingency plans” in place following the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, James said the university is taking an approach utilizing “three distinct time periods.”
“Before Oct. 18, the focus was on voter registration,” James said. “Right now, we’re in this process of encouraging messaging surrounding getting out and actually voting, and then Nov. 3 and on, until we find out who the president is, like what support looks like for the students there. So, there are a number of spaces that different offices and academic departments are creating for discussion for students.”
SGA holds general body meetings Thursdays at 6 p.m.