SGA discusses funding measures, disability access

By DRAKE FOREMAN | April 5, 2018

At its weekly meeting on Tuesday, the Student Government Association (SGA) voted to fund several organization events. They also discussed a resolution advocating for disability awareness. 

The SGA first decided to fund an annual philanthropy event known as the PUSH, run by Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) battalion. The event, open to students, athletes, alumni and Baltimore citizens, will be centered on a race to push a military-grade Humvee across a finish line. 

The Phi Delta Gamma fraternity would like to offer T-shirts to participants and is asking SGA for a $1,000 grant to help subsidize the cost of the T-shirts. The SGA voted unanimously to approve the funding. 

Funding for the Consulting Club Case Competition was also approved. The competition will involve consulting companies such as Deloitte, giving teams of students consulting challenges to solve. 

The SGA then discussed the funding of an Earth Week competition run by Sustainable Hopkins Innovative Projects (SHIP). SHIP is asking for $500 to fund the prizes for their competition: 10 Patagonia sweaters, each costing $50.

Some of the members expressed concerns about giving $50 per person. The bill ultimately failed to pass.

SGA then discussed funding a project for Engineers Without Borders, who are planning to have a trip to Guatemala to help set up a clean water system for residents in a particular community.

The organization has been to Guatemala before and was able to set up a system serving half of this community. They hope to return to finish what they started. The funding will support student travel, plane tickets and lodging. 

Some SGA members, like Junior Class President Ash Panakam, expressed disapproval for funding the trip to Guatemala. 

“I think the initiative is amazing... I just have a problem with the money going to individual students, because that’s not what SGA does as a whole,” she said. “We fund projects, ideas and initiatives... events that need money have to be open to the general public or at least a large subset of the Hopkins Community, and Engineers Without Borders unfortunately does not.” 

Some students expressed discomfort with the idea of SGA advertising funding and then coming back to organizations saying no. The bill was tabled. 

Following the discussion on funding, SGA then discussed the student center resolution. 

This proposal calls for finding outside donors to help fund the student center and making it a top priority for fundraising from the school. The proposal recommends distributing information about the student center to offices around campus, the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association. SGA voted unanimously to pass the resolution.

Finally, SGA discussed student demands advocating for disability awareness. Freshman Class Senator Sam Mollin mentioned the various problems with disability access on campus. 

“There are not a lot of ramps and elevators, and there are inadequate transportation services,” he said. “This is hurting the academic achievement of persons with disabilities and also hurting their inclusiveness within the community.”

The proposal asks for a better location for the office of Student Disability Services (SDS), preferably in the Center for Diversity & Inclusion. The proposal also demands better accessibility services; a pre-orientation program designed specifically for those with disabilities; and a better mentoring program with more training for mentors on how to accommodate students with disabilities. 

Another demand in the proposal that raised initial concern for some SGA members was the reinstatement of SDS Director Brent Mosser, who was recently fired.

Sophomore Class President Anthony Boutros discussed why he thought Mosser should be reinstated.

“Dr. Mosser’s job was to serve students with disabilities, and that’s what he did his entire eight years he worked here,” he said. 

Boutros then explained how Mosser had gone above and beyond to serve him during his toughest times. 

Despite initial concerns, SGA unanimously approved the resolution. 

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