Reworded resolution passed to UAS for approval

Reworded resolution passed to UAS for approval

Claire Fodell

Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate passed a resolution that allows more student seats on
university governance committees and calls for one seat on each committee to be allotted to a
member of the graduate student population.

The resolution was originally presented to the University Academic Senate at the end of last academic
year, but it didn’t pass because of some confusing language. Wording in the resolution made it
unclear why undergraduate students would be given an extra seat in the event of a graduate student
not being elected. The language has since changed, and the resolution will be sent to the UAS for
consideration before being implemented.

“(Seats will be) delegated by the (Graduate Student Association), appointed by the Student Senate,
because the senate is technically the only body who can appoint students to these committees, but
they will be filled by only graduate students if it is approved by UAS and put into the Faculty
Handbook,” Senate President Ricky Benavidez said. “The intent of the resolution is to increase and
foster graduate voice, and if we were filling those seats with undergraduates, that is not fulfilling its

Since there was already much debate over the resolution in past meetings, it was immediately moved
to be voted on with little discussion and was passed with only a few senators opposed.

“It was a big step, I think, for the senate, but they passed it with little push back,” Benavidez said.
“(It’s) a big step from where we were last year.”

The Student Senate Resources Committee was also working on amending policies and procedures
about stricter attendance of student senators at governance committee meetings.

Expanding inclusion
Anthony Clemons, vice president for Diversity Affairs, mentioned that his committee is working with
other universities so GVSU can be accommodating of its diverse population.

“My committee is going to be heading Saturday and Sunday of Battle of the Valleys,” Clemons said.
“We’ve been in contact with student senates at all of our sister universities and other universities all
over the state to see how they deal with accommodating everyone at big events like that.”

Clemons specifically mentioned offering gender-neutral bathrooms.

Promoting involvement
Members from the Political Affairs Committee spent last weekend at Saginaw Valley State University
for a conference with the Michigan Student Association. Schools from all over the state were in

“We focus on state-wide changes together, then we bring them back to Grand Valley,” said Andrew
Plague, vice president of the PAC.

One of the big developments that happened was the signing of a contract by the PAC for a campus-
wide voter registration day this year.

“I am really looking forward to getting our campus involved in politics,” said Lawrence Williams, a
senator of the PAC.

Establishing fairness

Theresa Rowland, from the GVSU Women’s Center, and Dwight Hamilton, assistant vice president for
Affirmative Action, were guest speakers at the senate meeting.

Rowland spoke about her recent Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant renewal for working
against campus violence, most specifically sexual assault.

“The fact that we got the grant is significant, and the fact that it was renewed is very, very rare,”
Hamilton said.

The grant was first received three years ago and allowed Rowland to use 25 percent of her time on
campus working to protect survivors of campus crime.

The speakers also presented information about the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX legislation,
which was created in 1952 to help students who are pregnant or parenting graduate sooner rather
than later.

They said one part of the policy states that students who have to be admitted into the hospital
because of a pregnancy-related incident must be put back on the same academic track upon return.
This means that even if a woman is out of class for an extended period of time during pregnancy,
when she does return, she won’t be failing her classes because she’s behind in work. She will be given
her previous academic status.

Hamilton said there is no current legislation for helping out fathers, but if there was a student-father
who wanted to get some time off to spend with his child, then he would do what he could to
accommodate him.

[email protected]