The Student Government Association hosted Laura Chandler, director of the Center for Diversity and Community, at Tuesday’s meeting. SGA also passed two resolutions and Senate Bill 55. The organization also furthered debate on five more senate bills and introduced a new resolution.
Chandler spoke to SGA about issues of diversity and systemic racism, including these issues relation to the ongoing pandemic.
“At one point, 70% of the people who had contracted COVID in South Dakota were people of color,” Chandler said. “And it wasn’t because of comorbidities or because of pre-existing conditions, but it was because people of color work in the industries that are considered essential that were forced to remain open.”
Chandler also spoke about an incident from spring semester of a USD student using racist language.
SGA President Abuk Jiel said SGA is only starting to open up conversations about diversity and discrimination on campus.
“I really do think that for SGA specifically, the true work starts once we’ve been in our workshop and we’ve got those conversations started, that way we can implement change,” Jiel said.
The Cultural Wellness Coalition, who organized last Wednesday’s Justice for Black Lives march, approached SGA seeking to become a student organization officially. They were directed to special appropriations.
SGA passed Senate Bill 55, which restricts use of SGA funds by third party organizations for philanthropic purposes.
Resolution 1 to support university efforts to combat COVID-19 was passed. The resolution supports the continuation of face covering requirements, along with stricter enforcement protocols.
Senator Addison Miller introduced Senate Bill 60 to allow transparency in elections. This bill would require a full report of results for SGA senate and executive elections, including vote tallies and percentages.
Miller also introduced a resolution to commemorate Marcus Destin for being a student voice for change and a resolution to commemorate the Cultural Wellness Coalition.
SGA moved on to discuss planning for the spring semester. Preliminary plans made by the university exclude a spring break and end a week early. which may be unfair to students who have already made plans, but would increase student safety by limiting travel.