Student Senate discuss race survey, EWP submission

Katja Benz, Student Government Reporter

The Student Senate discussed race issues at Eastern as well as Electronic Writing Portfolio submissions for students. (Rob Le Cates)

Despite two new senators being sworn in, the Student Senate did not meet quorum during the first meeting of the semester, having 11 of the 15 senators needed to meet it.  

Senators Angel Adaya, a freshman exercise science major, and Alexis Donner, a sophomore English major, were sworn in during the meeting. Keith Morellas, a junior history education major, was supposed to be sworn in, but withdrew from the senate prior to the meeting.  

After the swearing in of the new senators, Jeff Stowell, a psychology professor, gave a presentation on the campus climate survey that was sent out earlier this year.  

The survey, last given in 2013 prior to the budget impasse, had to be reevaluated for the present state of the university.  

The present survey looked at how both students and faculty and staff felt about the climate surrounding campus, how they felt on campus and ways that they thought campus could be improved. Faculty and staff were sorted into one group whereas students were in the other.   

Stowell was happy with the results that came from the survey, which said 80 percent of students were happy with their overall EIU experience and that they felt like they belonged on campus and that students were trying to create an inclusive environment for other students.  

“I was quite pleased to see that,” Stowell said. “[I was] also [pleased] to see that students feel it’s important that we treat others fairly and with respect, I was happy to see that kind of came through and some of those questions about how they perceive that veterans on our campus are treated or those from the LGBTQ plus community or female students, [or] students of color. So, I was pleased to see that generally students feel like this is a respectful place. There are a small percentage that do feel like there’s a lot of tension, racial tension on our campus, and sometimes unfortunately, it’s because of forces outside of the university that contribute to that. But you know, one thing that I’ve learned from this survey is just how important it is for people to belong, to feel like they belong.” 

The survey will not be distributed for another two to three years.  

During her portion of the committee presentation, Vice President of Academic Affairs Nidhi Patel discussed some important details from the previous week’s Council of Academic Affairs (CAA) meeting.  

During the CAA meeting, the reevaluation of the Electronic Writing Portfolio (EWP) was discussed. At the semester, the requirement went from three to two submissions per student because the council realized the three-submission requirement was hindering people from graduating if papers from their classes did not meet the requirements for the EWP.  

The CAA is considering adding a writing intensive course for most majors so they can learn how to write effectively in their field of work. This would be helpful for business majors to learn how to write reports, pre-heath majors to write charts in a medical setting, among other work settings dependent on the program.  


 Katja Benz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].