Some student senators want the Student Government Association to take a stance against prejudice.
Sen. Pierce Gordon (social sciences) proposed Resolution 001, which was authored by Sen. Jordan Tarter (humanities).
The resolution was presented at the Oct. 31 Senate meeting. It addresses torn Black Student Association posters and campus police’s 2 a.m. questioning of Broderick McQuarters, flute performance sophomore, after which the student accused police of racial profiling.
“It is asking students here to be on the lookout for prejudice, to hold each other accountable and to treat each other with the respect you would want to be treated with,” Tarter said. “The biggest problem is admitting that racism is a problem on campus, no matter how small. I feel like we do have a very accepting campus, However, there are issues.”
Senators discussed the resolution section by section with some amendments to the wording of certain parts. Senators tabled the resolution once the meeting hit the one-hour limit. It will be the first item on the agenda at the next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Great Hall in Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center.
SGA President Randy Gipson-Black said he’s happy student senators proposed the resolution because it is more impactful than if it came from his office.
“It’s good because then I’ll have a chance to sign it, and it’ll be written in a way that reflects the consensus of the student body,” Gipson-Black said. “I feel it’s SGA’s prerogative, and it’s also our duty, to promote the most inclusive environment that we can for each student because we do live in a unique and thriving community.”
The resolution is the first to come out of the Student Services Committee, which ensures administrative policies on academia, the campus environment, public safety, and campus aesthetics are in the best interest of the student body, according to the constitution.
Gordon said a main point of contention was that the resolution lacked action. He said resolutions cannot spend money, making it hard to have action.
“This bill does lack a spending area, unfortunately. Constitutionally, we are unable to do that,” he said. “But this is setting a path that this is a first step.”
Gipson-Black said he’s never personally seen racial prejudice on campus, but he hopes to better understand the issue.
“Maybe that’s because I haven’t talked to enough people, maybe that’s because I don’t go to the BSA meetings,” he said. “That’s something I hope to gain perspective on.”
Tarter said the resolution will show minority students that SGA supports them.
“I believe there are a lot of students on this Senate that this would not affect. I think, if you’re considering saying ‘no,’ consider the reasons you’re saying ‘no.’ Because resolutions do not cost any money. It is just a statement,” she said.
Gipson-Black said he encourages students to not act out of hate, malice, fear, or any divisive behavior.
“Greet your neighbors with open hearts, open minds and open arms,” he said. “Don’t let divisiveness come into the conversation because it doesn’t construct proper discourse to explore possible solutions to help us grow as a community.”