News Briefs 4/15

Nick Moran

Executive order sparks free speech displays

After President Donald Trump’s recent executive order for universities to uphold all forms of free speech on campus or risk losing federal funding, a group of anti-abortion activists from Grand Rapid’s Inner City Church Planting Mission showed up on Grand Valley State University’s campus April 8 to see how officials would respond.

Demonstrators initially set up near the Cook Carillon Tower (a designated free speech zone of GVSU), then later left the zone to see if campus police would respond. Police did not interfere.

GVSU’s Pro-Life organization also had a display up near the Carillon Tower from April 8 to 11. Their display included “The Cemetery of Innocents,” which was marked by rows upon rows of pink flags, with each representing 927 aborted babies.

The organization was unaware that the other group would be demonstrating and is unaffiliated with them.

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Student senate resolution presses Board of Trustees for student participation

Student senate introduced a proposal to the Board of Trustees that seeks to improve and foster student participation within the board’s decision making. If accepted by the board, the proposal will seek more opportunities for student input and ideas on board decisions regarding students.

The proposal includes several requests including subscribing to open meetings, adding public comment opportunities and holding meetings in closed sessions only when empowered by the Open Meetings Act of 1976.

Student senate president Rachel Jenkin, who co-authored the proposal along with incoming president Eric-John Szczepaniak, explained that she sees the proposal to promote the inclusion of more student voices on changes being made at GVSU.

“We want student representation on our board, both in a literal sense for real-time commenting on the issues that they are discussing, as well as in a symbolic sense so we can have it documented that students are present at every meeting,” Jenkin said. “There are people making decisions the impact us as students, however, this is no one in that space to represent us through the tough discussions and voting.”

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GV notes six Fulbright 2019-20 semifinalists

Following the public announcement, Grand Valley State University was able to flaunt six of its students and alumni as semifinalists for the 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The program provides students with the opportunity to teach English or conduct research oversees.

Bethany Mazurek, Anna Szalay, Kellie Corbett, Emily Heyburn, Melina Frantzeskakis and Dallas Davis were all named as semifinalists in the competition and will either complete a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship or conduct independent research.