Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Assembly members take a vote at the Student Assembly meeting at Willard Straight Hall on Jan. 23, 2020.

February 14, 2021

S.A. Finishes Up Old Business in First Meeting of Semester

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In its first meeting since the fall’s turmoil, the Student Assembly took up an agenda mired in the residual disarmament vote friction.

The majority of the resolutions were carryover from the last 2020 meetings, which were full of vacillation over campus police disarmament and left many issues — including a harassment, bias and discrimination taskforce and funding for minority organizations — unresolved. 

Even before reaching the resolutions, S.A. President Cat Huang ’21 opened the meeting asking for professionalism and respect through this semester’s meetings. She specifically referenced Uche Chukwukere ’21, S.A. vice president of finance — one of the members at the center of targeted online attacks after his outspoken support for disarmament. 

With the disarmament debate not far gone from Assembly memory, it unanimously passed an ad-hoc taskforce on harassment, bias and discrimination — a direct response to the fall. 

The taskforce will be housed in the Office of the Student Advocate and work with Bias Assessment and Review Team, an organization of hired professionals that handles bias and discrimination. Huang said she hoped this move would give students a space to discuss their experiences and better handle bias reporting. 

The original disarmament supporters also proposed a resolution naming several reforms, including publishing the specifications of police training and policies annually, the creation of a unit of unarmed workers trained to handle non-violent situations and the redirection of support to resources like counseling and psychological services. 

Freshman representative Kayla Butler ’24, one original opponent of the disarmament resolution, motioned to table the resolution indefinitely, and the assembly moved to the next resolution.

Continuing on efforts from the fall semester, the S.A. also discussed its standing rules, a response to several decisions made by the Executive Committee to remove members from their seats on committees or the assembly after the contentious disarmament vote.  

The change would allow the Assembly to challenge Executive Committee decisions and overturn them with a simple majority of the voting membership. This resolution was clouded by debate about standing rules language before it was postponed to the next meeting when all members would be present.

Beyond disarmament-related measures, the S.A. continued on their trend of diversity and inclusion initiatives, with the quick approval of resolutions to create a scholarship for minority organizations, to include pronouns and phonetic pronunciation of names on class rosters and to encourage diversity in professional organizations. 

Looking forward to the upcoming finals period and reflecting on the effectively doubled exams with semi-finals in the fall, the S.A. also passed a proposed new policy for distributing time during finals. The proposal would extend the window for consecutive exams accommodations from 24 hours to 30. 

Under the current policy, students could conceivably be required to take two exams at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. one one day and at 9 a.m. the next day; the new policy would allow for accommodations around the third exam.