Senate Discusses Implicit Bias, Passes Affinity Group Amendment
By Katie Oglesby, News Editor
Student Senate began their final meeting of the fall semester on Nov. 30 with a presentation about the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) from Director of Student Success and Well-Being Cindy Wright.
Wright began by saying, “I also want to give a shoutout to Senate because you are the backbone of the institution and what goes on here is so vital and I’m very appreciative to all the leadership that you bring and all the time that you take.”
She went on to introduce IDI and how the Senate can use it as a tool to address how they individually and as a whole tackle diversity and difference. She then said that all Senators will be able to take the IDI and find out where they fall on a spectrum from monocultural mindset to intercultural mindset.
Inclusion Officer Daniel Jones ‘22 discussed implicit bias and the IDI as well.
“I want to challenge the fact that when we even talk about implicit bias that the level to which we do is inadequate and even incomplete,” he said. “When I say that, I mean…we want to move to a radically different place, radically better place, and a better Senate.”
Parliamentarian Lauren Browning ‘22 brought back the affinity group amendment, now with no extra attendance requirement beyond the regular Senate attendance requirement in the Constitution. The previous iteration of this amendment threatened a hearing to determine the deregulation of clubs who missed more than three mandatory meetings with their affinity group leaders. The new amendment passed.
Treasurer Connor Heath ‘23 brought for a Budget Request from Gburg TV for $6,000 to provide them a camera and other filming technology to help their new club. President Sam Hann ‘21 spoke on behalf of the club. The budget request was approved in full.
Browning returned to address a referendum to allow Senators who take a gap semester due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic to remain as Senators so long as they attend Senate meetings, committee meetings, and at least five virtual Senate-sponsored events.
Sustainability Committee Chair Nadine Snyder ‘21 objected to the referendum,
“This referendum is unfair to students who can’t take a gap semester because of class requirements or because of a scholarship,” she said. “Students who aren’t paying tuition, who aren’t dealing with either virtual classes at home or whatever situation is going to be on campus, can’t accurately represent the student body because they don’t understand what the student body is going through.”
“I think that it would certainly represent a part of a campus,” said Garrett Adams ‘22, disagreeing with Snyder. “I think that there are unfortunately people who have to take these gap semesters for different reasons…I don’t think there’s any harm with having one or two senators that also understand what these people are feeling, make decisions for them as well because they’d certainly be coming back to campus.”
The referendum ultimately passed.
Opinions Committee Chair Giacomo Coppola ‘22 brought forth two opinions to be voted on. The first advocated for a three-part bias training program for incoming students. The second advocated for mental health days during the spring semester since the College didn’t allot for a Spring Break. If the College decided to implement these days, five days would be spread out throughout the semester as mental health days where professors couldn’t hold class and students could take a break from responsibilities. This would require the College to add an extra week at the end of the academic calendar and potentially change the date of graduation. Both opinions passed.