Elon University’s Student Government Association passed Senate Resolution 20, which expresses support for the Black Lives Matter movement and adopts eight articles to support marginalized groups on campus.
The articles include increasing diversity within SGA, the student body, Elon’s faculty and the Board of Trustees. The resolution also affirms the SGA’s commitment to anti-racism.
Although the resolution passed through the student senate unanimously, many delegates, like the delegate from the School of Communications Jack Taylor, raised questions about how effective the resolution’s provisions would be concerning increasing the staff’s diversity and that of the Board of Trustees.
“I'm not sure how much we have an impact on that process,” Taylor said. “I don't want to over-promise under-deliver on that.”
Class of 2021 senator Kyra Letsinger went over some steps that Elon has taken to address the concerns brought up in the legislation,
“[The SGA was] offered the opportunity to give feedback about the next chief of police last year,” Letsinger said. “We were given the opportunity to ask about the new provost.”
Letsinger pushed the SGA to commit to using their influence with the administration to increase diversity.
Class of 2021 secretary Jack Corby, coauthor of the resolution, said SGA representatives have a responsibility to educate themselves about diversity issues.
“I'd say it probably starts with education, educating yourself on issues in these subject matters and stepping up and stepping in when you see something,” Corby said. “It's most definitely the easiest way that you can make an impact based on this, every day, moving forward.”
Corby also said SGA needs to work on making its organization more inclusive so that it can progress.
“I think that possibly making this group feel more inclusive to people of color and people of all backgrounds in their first year, definitely would help change the dynamics of this room moving forward,” Corby said.
In addition to the resolution passed, Jana Lynn Patterson, dean of students and SGA faculty advisor, gave an update on the 17 new positive COVID-19 cases on campus. Patterson noted that although the number of cases reported today was concerning, the situation was under control.
“The way the model is designed, it is easier to go up than it is to go back. We expect bumps,” she said. “It would be unreasonable of us not to expect that there's going to be some variations. It's going to be the sustained elevation of any cases that are going to mean that we would have to… drastically alter some of the things that we're doing.”
Patterson went on to encourage SGA delegates to not look at the new numbers nervously and told delegates to be aware of who they interact with.
“My ending statement for SGA forever has always been ‘don't make me get out of my bed,’” she joked, “Now it's ‘don't make yourself a close contact.’Remember that you can control whether you're somebody’s close contact or not.”