Campus / Campus Safety / News / Student Senate / January 21, 2009

Property destruction key issue in Senate

In the second session of the term, Student Senate once again brought up damages to campus.

“Last year and again a week ago,” said junior senator Ehrhard during the Diversity Faculty Committee report, “a Palestinian student on our campus was the target of an ethnically direct attack. The flag of her country, Palestine, was defaced for the second time in two years. It happened again last year. Apparently, according to a faculty member on the [Diversity] committee, she went to Senate and nothing really happened after that. Her flag, the flag of her country, keeps being defaced and torn down in Seymour [Gallery]. So, the diversity committee is going to have a tabling event on Tuesday the 20th and is going to gather signatures of support.”

Dean of Students Xavier Romano linked this to the school banner defacement that occurred during the fall term 2007.

“This speaks to a larger issue that we’ve had on our campus for a lot of years and that is the vandalism of flags and posters,” Romano said. “Anything that has an opinion about it seems to go up, and seems to go down. Many of you have spoken to me about this. We cannot put glass over everything and nor should we. I think this situation speaks to an underlying problem that we’ve had for a great number of years. In fact, I think it goes back as far as anyone can remember. I think it’s a timely conversation and one that could really utilize student input and decision-making because the answer is clearly not going to be administrative. This is a community issue.”

The chamber expressed a wide variety of opinions on the issue, but the chamber for the most part agreed that some kind of response was needed.

“We have a really diverse campus,” senator Barrett said. “I think that we like to think we’re a big ‘Community Knox,’ but some people are just going to be dicks. That’s just going to happen. I think it’s the result of having a pretty diverse campus with some pretty strong opinions on world issues and it’s really unfortunate that this happened, but things like this will happen when you get a big group of people together.”

Senate also briefly discussed the ongoing institutional self-study. Senate President senior Elaine Wilson said, “Basically it’s all the academic departments, all the professors and department heads are participating in it, and a few larger student organizations. I don’t know [specifically] of any other student organizations besides Senate, but I know there are a few. The self-study is conducted about every ten years or so. It’s a kind of reflection for the organizations and more importantly the academic departments to reflect on themselves and what’s changed and what they might want to change…We wanted senate to discuss these questions. We want to get your input and as many students we can. Student organizations participate to see what has happened in the last ten years and how it has changed.”

The study, which occurs every ten years, seeks input from as many students as are willing to participate.

“If there are any comments you want to make anonymously, there will be a survey sent out in a few weeks or so,” Wilson said.

Finally, Senate approved a new club, Operation Smiles, with a budget of $250. Senate also approved the non-budgeted club requests from Archery Club for $250 for membership fees and supplies, German Club for $250 for I-Fair and supplies, and Pre-Law Club for $90 for LSAT practice tests. Also approved were the budgeted club fund requests from ABLE for $4,000 for Black History Month events and SASS for $1,390 for Love Your Body.

After fund approvals this week and fund returns from last term, the Student Senate Discretionary Fund had $30, 975.04 remaining for the year.

Student Senate sessions are held every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Round Room of CFA.

Andrew Polk

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