Sanctions imposed on USG following free speech bill controversy, CDO-elect resignation

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The Undergraduate Student Government office is located on the second floor of the Student Union. Internal activities in the organization will be closely monitored through the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, and USG will be required to satisfy a selection of terms and conditions as determined by the Assistant Director of Trustee Student Organization Support in order to avoid further disciplinary action. Photo courtesy of Eric Wang / The Daily Campus.

Members of the Undergraduate Student Government at the University of Connecticut will now be required to have a faculty advisor present at events and must attend weekly check-up meetings and additional trainings after the free speech bill chaos and resignation of incoming chief diversity officer B Diaz engulfed the organization last week, according to advisor Krista O’Brien.

The bill in question, which caused heightened controversy and led to insults and threats from both sides, was pulled last week. Diaz resigned from their position prior to the bill’s removal, citing mental health concerns and continued online harassment.

Internal activities in the organization will be closely monitored through the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, and USG will be required to satisfy a selection of terms and conditions as determined by the Assistant Director of Trustee Student Organization Support in order to avoid further disciplinary action. 

“It is clear to me, as advisor, that the organization is not currently in a place to be productive, is causing significant harm to its membership, and is in need of immediate assistance to address serious, unproductive, unhealthy and harmful internal actions that could threaten the ability of the organization to fulfill its mission for the foreseeable future,” O’Brien said.  

All formal USG meetings, including governing board, committees, caucus and senate, will be required to have an assigned advisor present. Additionally, governing board members must attend weekly advising meetings during the academic year and must make arrangements to follow up during the summer months and calendar breaks.  

Advisors will also meet with executive board members to plan and lead a required USG orientation for the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters, which will be mandatory for all active members to attend. USG will also be required to send four members to triad biweeklies for the 2021-2022 school year.  

“It is my belief that these measures reflect the seriousness of the situation in USG and offers the organization and its members an opportunity to learn from this experience and improve the organization’s culture,” O’Brien said.  

Finally, those specifically involved in the issues pertaining to the bill are slated to receive separate invitations from advisors to have an open conversation with other members about how to restore faith and positivity in the organization.  

“Our intentions are not to impact your advocacy or initiatives which remain fully under your control and authority, but to step in to help shift the culture in USG and to allow the organization to be a positive, learning and growth opportunity for all involved,” O’Brien said.  

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