Student Senate hears updates on BLM flag, approves RSO


Thalia Rouley

Rebecca Cash, Student Body President, goes over appointments at the student government meeting on Wednesday night. The meeting was held in the Arcola-Tuscola Room in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

The Student Senate received updates on the petition to have a Black Lives Matter flag on campus and plans to place the new panther statue in an alternative location Wednesday night.

Senators also approved a new registered student organization, and the new committee chairs were announced.

Alicia Matusiak, the student vice president of student affairs, touched briefly on the status of the Black Lives Matter flag petition in student government.

She said she reached out to Mona Davenport, the executive director of the office of inclusion and academic engagement, Lynette Drake, the interim vice president of student affairs and will meet with Eastern President David Glassman and the student government executive staff on Monday to discuss the matter further.

She said she wants to touch base with different people on campus to get more information on the topic.

“But it is being taken care of,” she said.

Zac Cohen, the executive vice president and acting speaker of the senate, said the topic will come to the senate whenever the student affairs committee feels it is ready to.

He said they have approached several people for help and will be holding discussions with others on campus to get feedback.

At an Oct. 10 meeting, Cohen said if the student affairs committee brings the topic to the table and the student senate agrees to support it, the way the process works is the committee or senator will have to bring a resolution to the senate stating the current situation and include whether or not the senate is in support of the flag.

Then, he said that resolution will come to senate, and senators will have the opportunity to ask those who created the petition questions before the bill is tabled for a week.

Following that, Cohen said the senate will have a discussion about it at the next meeting and then take a vote.

He is not sure what happens once the resolution leaves the student senate, but he said the senate does not have a final say on the matter.

“We can just decide if we feel that the entire student body would support that or not support them,” Cohen said at the Oct. 10 meeting.

He did encourage senators to get as many opinions from the student body as they possibly can so they can make an informed decision.

Cohen said he will be meeting with Glassman next week to discuss the future location of the panther statue.

The statue was approved last semester and created before the end of May. Originally it was intended to sit right in front of Booth Library in the Library Quad; however, Cohen said when it was being built they were not sure how it would look after all.

He said although he is still meeting with Glassman to discuss the details, the idea is to potentially move the statue to the Commemorative Courtyard (between Ford Hall and McAfee Gym). However, that is not certain at this moment.

Senators approved the Sustainability Club as a new RSO Wednesday.

At an Oct. 10 Student Senate meeting, Josh Harden, a graduate student and the president of the club, said the purpose of the club is to raise awareness on what students can do to be sustainable on campus, like using paper cups instead of plastic.

Student Body President Rebecca Cash said the group seems like a great organization and Harden was very passionate when he presented his case to the senate at its last meeting.

Senator Ethan Osborne said it is a very unique RSO, and Matusiak agreed and added that the RSO will be a great step in the right direction when it comes to limiting pollution.

She said it is the small steps that matter.

There are four new committee chairs.

Senator Zoey White is the chair for the academic affairs committee, Senator Nia Douglas is the chair for the student affairs committee, Senator Seth Yeakel is the chair for the university enhancement committee and Osborne is the chair for the internal affairs committee.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].