Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia
DePaul’s Student Government Association provided a review of last quarter’s initiatives, events and activities in their Fall Quarter Transparency Report.
In the report obtained by The DePaulia, SGA discussed ways they worked to support the DePaul community over the past year.
“The past year has been very challenging due to the COVID-19 [pandemic], demands for racial justice, and a historic presidential election, but our commitment to the DePaul community remains the same,” the report reads. “As DePaul’s student government, we expressed student concerns on remote learning, advocated for mental health resources, created safe spaces for dialogue and continuously stood in solidarity with our students of color.”
To address students’ concerns about remote learning, SGA passed a resolution last quarter asking the Faculty Council to reconsider providing students with the Pass/D/Fail grading option offered to students in the spring quarter last year after the university returned to its normal grading policies.
“Many students relied on pass/d/fail since the pandemic started and since the condition of our country has not improved, we as an SGA believe the students should still be able to opt for pass/d/fail,” according to the report.
Other initiatives, like working with several departments at DePaul to “address concerns regarding a lack of hate speech policies at DePaul,”were also included in the report.
FQ Transparency Report 20-21 (3) by DePaulia on Scribd
“While the university has a set of Community Guidelines for students to follow in regards to free speech, there are no set policies that condemn hate speech on campus,” the report reads. “For this reason, hate speech is often considered free speech and goes without consequences.”
The report also details some events and activities SGA held last quarter including its Diversity Equity and Inclusion town hall intended to give students the opportunity to share their experiences with this topic.
“SGA plans on making this a quarterly town hall to maintain our connection with the student body and make sure we are addressing their concerns as best as we can,” the report reads.
In addition, SGA held its weekly Civic Engagement and Social Action Series in which some members of SGA interviewed DePaul alumni, faculty, staff and members of political organizations to motivate students to vote and get more civically engaged.
The report goes on to discuss the work some SGA members did last quarter including Camila Barrientos, SGA’s treasurer, who “took part in many emails, meetings and actions in order to maintain the transparency of SGA’s finances,” along with her work with university departments.
“As part of the job description, I maintained my role with the Office of Student Involvement and kept in contact with Natalie Stone to discuss ‘Student Organization Funding’ at-large,” Barrientos said in the report. “We discussed the ‘student organization fund’ and eligibility. I then relayed this in the General Body Meeting through a quick presentation.”
Jaslynn Hodges, SGA’s community engagement coordinator, compiled the contact information of several departments and organizations and listed “potential goals” to help SGA get more involved with the DePaul community.
Jane Pallos, SGA’s elections coordinator, provided an overview of the work she did regarding SGA’s elections last quarter.
Marcus Robertson, SGA’s executive vice president of student affairs, drafted a resolution calling on the university administration to lower the cost of tuition as students continue to take classes remotely and to reinstate the Pass/D/Fail grading policy along with helping SGA senators work on their own initiatives.
Along with the initiatives of individual SGA members, the report lays out the work that SGA’s committees have done this past quarter.
The Operations Committee, chaired by Executive Vice President of Facility Operations Wesley Janicki, “considered and reported out favorably” resolutions involving raising the number of students allowed to sit on the Strategic Resource Allocation Committee, a university committee responsible for crafting the budget and creating a Sustainability Committee.
The committee also completed a series of training sessions.
“The Operations Committee completed a number of training workshops and exercises at their weekly meetings, covering topics such as institutional acronyms, advocating for our constituents and Robert’s Rules of Order,” the report reads.
The report also details some of the work that Janicki has done such as “advocating for students on a broad range of issues, including sustainability, Chartwells workers, university resource allocation and promotion of the university’s mission.”
“As regards sustainability, Wesley met with a group of faculty in June, who he, alongside some other SGA members, has continued to meet with throughout the fall,” according to the report.
The Diversity and Equity Committee co-chairs, SGA President Alyssa Isberto and Executive Vice President of Diversity and Equity Robbie Merkel, created an Undocumented Student Support ad hoc committee, assisted SGA Vice President Watfae Zayed with SGA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Town Hall and “s[at] on the Mental Health ad hoc Committee as they pursue[d] greater support for students with mental health concerns.”
Other actions included “advocating for a more inclusive mission statement with the help of the Senator for Mission and Ministry, Jessica Nalupta,” and “continuing to build closer relations with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS) staff and faculty.”
The Academic Affairs Committee Chair Keith Norward, SGA’s executive vice president of Academic Affairs, explained the work he did including his participation in the “Now We Must Campaign: The Campaign for DePaul’s Students” where he “share[d] his experiences, as well as those of his peers, on how the pandemic and the shift to remote learning and all that it entails (from housing and financial insecurities to health concerns) has impacted the lives of students.”
“Keith also sat on the Dean Review Committee for the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences dean, Dean Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco,” according to the report.
Each committee chair provided an explanation of the work that each of the senators in their committees have done as well.
Editor’s note: Marcus Robertson, SGA’s executive vice president of student affairs, is also an editor for The DePaulia. Robertson does not report on SGA, nor does his involvement with SGA affect his reporting.