The Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously voted to approve the new chair and vice-chair of the Black Student Caucus, Sophomore Class Senators Adelle Thompson and Talal Widatalla, respectively, at their weekly meeting on Tuesday.
The Black Student Caucus was formally established in March of 2019 with the goal of voicing the concerns of black undergraduate students on campus.
Thompson believes that the caucus will strengthen SGA’s relationship with the student body.
“The purpose of the Black Caucus is to bring the voices of black students on campus to the forefront,” she said.
Thompson said that she was inspired by her mentor, Madeleine Uraih, a former SGA senator and the original presenter of the bill to establish the Caucus. She said she wanted to fulfill Uraih’s visions for the Caucus, and endeavored to build a strong foundation in which future senators will be able to do more as members of the Black Caucus.
When Uraih introduced the bill in March, there were only two members of the SGA who identified as black or African American. She was influenced by the introduction of a similar caucus at the University of Maryland, College Park, as well as the growing black population of Hopkins. Enrollment among those who identify as black was up to 13 percent of the class of 2023. It amounts to approximately 11 percent of the Hopkins population overall.
Thompson is also an executive board member of the Black Student Union (BSU). She said that the BSU intends to establish more ties between the two organizations, as they believe they have previously lacked connections that might be beneficial.
“It would have been good to have a better relationship last year with the issue of the private police,” Thompson said. “Having more personal testimonies could have helped the situation a little bit more and could have helped the SGA mediate the situation a little more.”
During the meeting, members also passed a bill to approve funding for the Pi Phi Field Day Fundraiser, which was presented by junior class senator Mariam Al-Jabi-Lopez and the Vice-President for Philanthropy of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority, Lauren Paulet. The event is a continuation of the sorority’s annual fundraisers for the Pi Beta Phi Foundation, aimed at promoting literacy and addressing the issue of mental and physical health.
The bill stipulates that SGA will provide funding for specific items used to set up activities for the fundraiser, including rings for ring toss and balloons and darts. Paulet also explained that the equipment purchased for the fundraiser could offer lasting benefit to SGA after the Pi Phi event.
“If you ever wanted to use the items for any other SGA event you would just need to contact us and we would lend it out to you all,” Paulet said. “The whole purpose of this event is philanthropic so it’s not like we are trying to use your money for any personal gain.”
Senior Class Senator Chase McAdams expressed concern over the bill.
“The way the bill is worded is that we would get the money left over after the purchase, but it is not dependent on if the event occurs,” McAdams said. “There is a potential of both dates being canceled and us paying and them never using the stuff and keeping it. I didn’t want SGA paying for something that wasn’t going to happen.”
The event will be held on Sept. 28. In case of bad weather, it will be postponed until Oct. 12.
Executive Treasurer Eric Armstrong announced his plans during the meeting to codify rules involving his jurisdiction over the Student Activities Commission (SAC). He expressed concern about the lack of formal rules and his desire to establish proper guidelines for this position.
“The executive treasurer role of SGA has always been a position of little restriction. I am working with members of the SGA senate and SAC to codify guidelines for the treasurer and SAC to formally limit power of the treasurer position and establish a precedence of fiscal responsibility,” he wrote in an email to The News-Letter.