SGA passes bill to fund Senior Week festivities

By ISHA RAI | April 4, 2019

The Student Government Association (SGA) debated a request from Students Against Private Police (SAPP) about promoting a student protest at their weekly meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Charles Commons. They also discussed a bill to fund Senior Week and an amendment to the SGA Health Accommodations bill.

SAPP asked SGA to send the student body a flyer promoting their rally against militarization at the University to be held on Wednesday, April 3. The rally would oppose the University’s future private police force as well as Hopkins contracts with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Senior Class Senator Ash Panakam supported the causes behind the rally. However, she wanted everyone to consider the implications that sending the out flyer would hold for SGA.

“I personally agree with the sentiments of this poster,” she said. “As SGA there are grand implications for sending out things like this. This is directly calling on Hopkins. We can pass resolutions, we can take stances on things, but when it’s something like this, we should just take a second and realize the implications.” 

Panakam further noted that SGA had not yet taken an official stance on all three facets of the rally: militarization, private police and JHU-ICE.

While no member of SGA was against the cause associated with the rally, they didn’t necessarily share the same view on the implication of sending out the flyer.

Senior Class Senator Madeleine Uraih did not believe that sending out the flyer would imply that SGA was endorsing the rally. She expressed concerns, however, about the possibility of students being arrested.

“We would be providing all the information people need to make their own decision,” Uraih said. “We need to give people the opportunity to have access to information.”

SGA members discussed sending out an email instead of the flyer. Freshman Class Senator Nathan Mudrak felt, however, that sending an email would not resolve the issue. 

“I don’t think we know enough about what is being planned by this organization to say with confidence that people won’t get hurt or there won’t be any consequences or people won’t get in trouble,” he said.

The motion to promote the rally failed since only two of the 15 SGA members present voted in favor.

Next, SGA discussed the bill to fund Senior Week, which is the week before graduation. The bill, introduced by Senior Class President Zanir Habib, asked SGA to allocate $2,000 to Senior Week events. The funding would partially be used to subsidize transportation for a senior trip to a Maryland beach and to buy senior class scavenger hunt prizes.

“We’re at the end of the road here. What we really want is to use $2,000 to send the seniors off and to make sure... that they stay a part of the Hopkins community.”

The bill passed unanimously, with SGA members adding $2,500 instead of the proposed $2,000 to the Senior Week budget. 

SGA also unanimously passed an amendment to their Health Accommodations bill, which now allows SGA members to take more time off for medical reasons, if necessary. Members will now only need to provide documents for an absence of more than two weeks. Executive Vice President Miranda Bannister felt that this amendment would reduce the pressure on SGA members suffering from any form of illness.

“We should be an inclusive organization that allows every student to participate regardless of their disabilities, their health conditions or backgrounds,” Bannister said. 

Finally, Chanel Lee was sworn in as junior class senator to fill the vacancy that was left by Bannister’s transition to executive vice president.

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