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Student Senate orders more diversity pledge buttons, increases SAC budget

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Student Senate continued its discourse on diversity and inclusivity at its Wednesday night meeting with comments and updates from many members. There was also a vote on Students Affairs Commission funding a presentation on the updated work hours for students.

LGBTQA Affairs Vice Commissioner Jordan Kelley commented on how to be a better ally during Student Speakout.

“First, I would say that we’re moving away from the language of allies in the social justice community,” Kelley said. “I don’t need allies to stand by the sidelines and watch. I need accomplices who are willing to join me in this fight.”

He further encouraged the gathered Senate members to listen to members of marginalized communities and work toward being less problematic. President Hannah Clouser agreed with him during her report.

“Remember when you’re wearing the pledge it’s not just to give out and then not do anything. You have to be an accomplice,” Clouser said. “It’s one thing to wear this button, it’s another thing to mean it. It’s not a magic button that will make everyone not racist but the intention to start a conversation.”

Clouser also said that due to the success of the first batch of 500 buttons for the Bobcat Pledge, President McDavis agreed to buy a thousand more buttons.

Vice President Courteney Muhl spoke about the Ohio University Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, which she is a part of after being appointed by McDavis. The task force will be looking over the proposals for institutional changes and initiatives on diversity and inclusion in general.

“I want to thank Jordan for making the point that marginalized communities are speaking, and as representatives we need to listen,” Muhl said.

Jenny Hall-Jones, who is a faculty advisor to Student Senate and the dean of students, spoke on the impact of a unified OU community. Nov. 16 was the two-year anniversary of the Union Street fire. Hall-Jones recalled a student who she helped after he lost items in the fire, including a copy of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” She replaced that book personally at the time, and on Wednesday this week he reached out to Hall-Jones to see if he could receive a few Bobcat Pledge buttons.

“I wanted to tell you that story because it is the anniversary today, and this young man reached out to me because of the Bobcat Pledge. Thank you for everything you do,” Hall-Jones said.

Chief Human Resource Officer Colleen Bendl presented a discussion about the new student working hours. The previous allotment per week for on-campus jobs was 20 hours, but it has now been raised to 25 and 28 during breaks. Bendl cautioned her listeners that anyone who works consistently above 28 hours a week might face being laid off. This will not affect international students as different laws cover their work requirements.

“Going over that limit causes you to become an ACA qualifier, which means the institution has to offer you health insurance through our employer plan,” Bendl said. “That means the department incurs extra charges, probably around $12,000.”

The SAC sub-committee also presented and said that since 2008, SAC allocation per student has decreased from $14.02 to $11.90. The number of student organizations has increased from 293 to 505, making funding more difficult. After the SAC presentation, Senate passed a bill to increase SAC funding.

Student Senate meets weekly on Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. in Walter 235.

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