Wednesday’s Undergraduate Student Government meeting sought to inform senators on the policies and issues surrounding the topic of sexual harassment on-campus.
“USG has a powerful influence with students here on campus,” Associate Vice President of the Office of Institutional Equity Elizabeth Conklin said. “That's why you should be informed about the university's sexual assault policies”
According to Conklin, many other large student groups on campus are also addressing sexual assault on campus. She said that the goal of this was to have students then share information about the issue with their peers.
Conklin gave a presentation detailing how to respond to certain situations in the way detailed by the University of Connecticut policy. She also shared university resources to use in case of sexual assault, intimate partner violence or stalking.
Many senators shared personal experiences of helping a fellow student in need or simply alerting an authority if something didn’t feel right.
Senator Richa Jain shared a time where she stepped in to help shield a friend from unwanted sexual attention.
"We were at this convention... there was a guy there with the DJ who was clearly on something and he was super shady... I had to leave the room but then my friend texted our group chat basically saying, ‘this guy won't leave me alone, it's making me super uncomfortable,’” Jain said. “I went back as quickly as I could and basically just sat down between them... Sometimes it's helpful to just physically get between them."
Following the presentation, Speaker of the Senate, Nandan Tamu, brought up the issue of editing the USG bylaws. At the last senate meeting, USG discussed some of the bylaws potentially not reflecting the goals and plans of the current USG body.
Several of the senators present at Wednesday’s meeting felt that there were articles that are outdated and should be edited, namely the sections regarding attendance by senators, as senate attendance has recently been a concern of Tamu and the rest of the senate leadership.
At the last senate meeting, there was a heated debate about when a senator should be dismissed from the senate. Despite the current bylaws stating that missing two senate meetings unexcused is cause for dismissal, many felt that there should be additional steps before going to the extreme of stripping a senator of their voting power.
The debate over the bylaws turned into a discussion at Wednesday’s meeting about whether or not the senate should govern themselves.
Senator Nicholas Teeling proposed the idea of creating a legislation restricting governing ad hoc committees.
“A restricting committee would handcuff us,” Teeling said.
According to Teeling, he plans to propose this legislation at next week's senate meeting.
Molly Desrochers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.