SGA talks Univ. police and sexual violence

By RUDY MALCOM | February 28, 2019

Student Government Association (SGA) members signed a letter to the Homewood Academic Council at their weekly meeting on Tuesday. The letter demanded the revocation of Anthropology Professor Juan Obarrio’s tenure following Obarrio being accused of sexually assaulting a visiting graduate student in May. 

Executive President AJ Tsang said that #JHToo, a coalition of student activists organizing against sexual violence at Hopkins, asked SGA to write this letter on Monday. SGA members voted in favor of signing the letter if their advisor, Calvin Smith, Jr., confirmed that the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) had found Obarrio responsible for physical assault and violating the sexual misconduct code as #JHToo said.

Smith also announced that the Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) office is now a part of Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI). Formerly the director of FSL, Smith is now succeeding Laura Stott as director of SLI. Tara Fuller, former FSL assistant director, has been promoted to FSL director. 

Smith added that Stott will become advisor of the JHUnions Student Programming Board, which includes the Hopkins Organization for Programming (HOP), Hoptoberfest and Spring Fair. JHUnions will become a separate office from SLI. 

Next, Tsang and Executive Secretary Aspen Williams made a presentation about their trip to Annapolis, Md. on Friday. SGA had collaborated with the School of Public Health Student Assembly to bring 10 undergraduates by bus to testify about the University’s private police legislation. 

Tsang said Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee members raised concerns about the proposed Hopkins police force. Members of the House Judiciary Committee, he added, raised concerns about accountability, given that accountability board members are selected by the University administration.

Tsang described a suggestion made by a senator to improve private police accountability, which would involve taking away the limit on how much money someone could sue the force for.

“If a potential police officer was to hurt a student, harms claims could be unlimited,” Tsang said.

Tsang explained that by doing so, students’ ability to sue for large sums of money could minimize police aggression on campus by encouraging the University to take preventative measures.

Next week, SGA members will elect their new Executive Vice President to succeed Tsang, who became Executive President following senior Noh Mebrahtu’s removal. SGA will decide between three nominees: Junior Class Senator Miranda Bannister, Junior Class President Dean Chien and Senior Class Senator Ash Panakam. 

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The News-Letter.