Student Senate disapproves of lack of cultural involvement

Chrissy Miller, Administration Reporter

 

The Student Senate reported on preparations for the Safety Walk and discussed a lack of Student Senate members’ participation in cultural events at its meeting Wednesday evening.

The Safety Walk will help identify improvements the campus can make to allow students to feel more safe on campus by walking around and making observations.

Student Senate member Claire Boarman said it is important for students to fill out the survey sent to their panthermail by Student Senate member Tarve’a Durant.

“Everyone should have had that survey sent to their email and it’s concerning how safe you feel on campus,” Boarman said. “It’s still available to use.”

Boarman said responses are receiving individualized attention.

“He has at least 180 already that he’s going through, one by one, reviewing peoples’ responses,” Boarman said. “Those are the areas they’re going to focus on when they do the Safety Walk to see what areas that are not properly lit, what areas feel kind of sketchy on campus, that way we can make it feel safer for everyone.”

Student Senate member Alleluia Musabyimana said the lack of Student Senate involvement in cultural events was brought up when she informed the entire senate about how the student forum discussing diversity with Eastern President David Glassman went.

“We weren’t too happy with the turnout from student government. We would’ve liked to see more members attend,” Musabyimana said. “It’s better when we have more minds together and people who aren’t necessarily aware of some of the (registered student organizations) we have here on campus. It’s more effective as far as going about helping alleviate some of the issues that they face.”

No white Student Senate members showed up to the “Help me, Help You” forum. Musabyimana said this was discouraging since one of the main goals of the forum was to find ways to help unite the community more.

Boarman said this lack of Student Senate presence may also be discouraging to students in general.

“We figured it out and each one of us should represent about 200 students on this campus,” Boarman said. “That means you have to be able to represent all minorities, not just whatever you associate with.”

Boarman said part of the problem may have been the Student Senate members had other obligations at the time of the forum, but she said that lack of student government turnout for cultural events happens frequently.

“I wasn’t able to make it to Help Me, Help You forum because I work Friday nights,” Boarman said. “But I went to Fiesta Latina the next day and that also had some poor turnout on student government’s part.”

Student Senate member Samara Abdoulaye Pedila said without going to events such as these, representing the student body becomes difficult.

“If you don’t go out there and mingle with the students you don’t know what the students want,” Abdoulaya Pedila said. “So sitting in those rooms we have long debates because no one knows what the students want. Those debates could be cut in half if people actually go out and mingle with the students.”

Student Senate member Will Outzen said most senators do not attempt to connect with the international students. Outzen said going to Global Cultural Night was enriching and it would be beneficial for more students to have that experience.

“We have over 400 international students on campus and most senators can’t even name five. That’s a problem,” Outzen said. “We represent them, too.”

Outzen said the international students get a better sense of community in Charleston rather than on campus.

“(Charleston Mayor Brandon Combs) told me at the last city council meeting that whenever international students talk to him they tell him Charleston feels like home,” Outzen said. “We’re not contributing to that. We’re representing them, we need to be involving them.”

Outzen said having Combs and Council Member Jeff Lahr attend this meeting was an step toward having a stronger relationship between the Eastern and Charleston communities.

“I really want to strengthen this bonding between the city council and the Student Senate,” Outzen said. “I want to build this avenue of communication.”

Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]