On Racism: We're Talking About It

Note: This does not cover the whole Associated Students Senate meeting.This is solely about what was on the docket.

Last Sunday at 5:30 in the evening, 18 senators and the members of the Associated Students executive council sat at a blue and red striped horseshoe table and began the last Associated Student Senate meeting of the 2015-2016 academic year.

But this was not like the senate meetings in the past with a small public forum. This meeting had an audience of over 30 students, faculty, brothers, and staff. Due to the past events that have been occurring on campus, particularly involving the Black Student Union, many people from different areas of campus gathered to see what would unfold.

The theme of the senate meeting seemed to be inclusivity. The meeting docket started off with Vice Presidents Bridget Lanigan and Shanel Singh giving a presentation on the 2016-2017 proposed budget. They described their process of determining how much money would go to different clubs and why some clubs would not be allocated money. After a lot of discussion, mainly centering about why the Black Student Union was not allocated any money (and certainly not defunded), this bill passed.

Senators Paula Dulcé and Natalie Manibo then brought up a Resolution to Encourage Support for the Transfer Student Community. They released a survey to the entire transfer community and out of the 172 respondents, "56 percent have expressed dissatisfaction with inclusivity at Saint Mary's." This bill is meant to encourage the community to support the transfer student community, and it passed.

To better give the transfer students a voice, Senators Maddie Yocum and Kiara Grey created the Resolution to Create the Associated Students Transfer Ambassador Program. In the aforementioned survey, transfer students were asked "to rank in order of most desired a: Transfer Ambassador, Advisory Cohort dedicated to transfer students, and an earlier move-in for transfer students during Weekend of Welcome." The Transfer Ambassador position was the most desired. This program would create a new unpaid position for a transfer student from any grade to serve as a liaison to the transfer community as a part of the senate. This bill passed as well.

The final resolution on the docket was a Resolution to Promote Solidarity created by Senators Maggie Lettire and Kavyasri Maddali. This resolution was created as a proposition "to commit ourselves and challenge the Saint Mary's College undergraduate community to stand in solidarity" as well as to show support to marginalized students and strengthen our departmental outreach toward a more diverse population. The main goal is to make students feel comfortable, safe, and included here at Saint Mary's college.

Senator Maddali then addressed every single one of the senators saying that they needed to stand unanimously with this bill because this bill represents what Saint Mary's stands for. The voting for this resolution was originally going to be on paper, but in order to show transparency they voted on how they should vote and they decided to go with hand raising. Fifteen senators voted for it, zero voted against it, and three abstained, so the bill has passed.

These four additional bills, specifically the last three, enforce the idea of inclusive community on our Saint Mary's College campus. While they still need to be put into action by the President's cabinet, hopefully, by passing of these resolutions, we are taking closer steps to building a more inclusive community here at Saint Mary's.

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