SGA discusses Gun Forums and Wellness Week

By JAMES SCHARF | November 7, 2019

The Student Government Association (SGA) passed an act and a series of bills at their weekly meeting on Tuesday.

Freshman Class Senator Anthony Singleton proposed the Special Forum Bill, which would require SGA to create a public forum if enough students feel that an issue or topic needs to be discussed. Singleton believes this would help students voice their thoughts on subjects of their interest.

“It’s a good first step if there’s an issue or topic that a student feels needs to be discussed in a wider space or in front of the administration then they could send a proposal to us and we’ll sponsor the event and come up with the space, the people we need invited,” Singleton said. “We’ll facilitate that.”

Senior Class Senator Chase McAdams questioned why the bill was not included in SGA’s bylaws. Executive Vice President Dean Chien stated that it was best to use this year as a trial period for the bill and then to leave it to next year’s SGA to determine what to do.

“The internal affairs committee met on Saturday and found that since we had not done this before, we felt uncomfortable with writing that into the bylaws as a permanent fixture,” Chien said.

Next year’s SGA will be required to vote to incorporate the Special Forum Bill into its bylaws after reviewing its success.

SGA also passed the Gun Safety Forum Bill, sponsored by Senior Class President Pavan Patel. The bill’s goal is to invite speakers to host an informative event about the steps the government is taking to protect people from gun violence. In response to Sophomore Class Senator Adelle Thompson’s suggestion to have more representation, the bill was edited to invite two members of the Baltimore community.

“Adelle talked about having more representation on there, so to address that we have two people that are coming from Baltimore,” Patel said. “The first is Dr. [Joseph] Sakran. He’s going to talk about his experience as a gun violence survivor and his work as a trauma surgeon at Hopkins. The second person is Erricka Bridgeford, she’s the co-founder of Baltimore Ceasefire.”

The bill was also edited to include more diverse viewpoints by bringing in both Republicans and Democrats. Senior Class Senator Chanel Lee introduced a bill for Wellness Week. They were motivated to introduce the bill in response to campus-wide mental health concerns.

“Students have expressed on campus that there aren’t enough programming events for mental health,” Lee said.

Wellness Week will include hot chocolate, bracelet-making, a healing space at the Interfaith Center and breakfast. This year’s operating costs were more expensive than in previous years. Although Wellness Week was originally planned for next week, it will need to be moved to the week after Thanksgiving due to budget-requesting restraints. Several SGA members expressed concerns with the choice to use Bon Appetit, the Hopkins Dining partner, as the supplier of food because of its high cost. Lee is optimistic about this year’s Wellness Week given student feedback from previous years.

“In terms of reception, I believe that Wellness Week is very successful,” Lee said.

SGA also considered voting to support the Maryland Fair Elections Fund Resolution, which would create a public fund to reduce the power of large donations in politics. Due to concerns regarding the bill’s partisanship and its lack of relevance to the Hopkins community, SGA voted to delay voting on the bill.

The first motion was the Moderated Caucus Act, which sets a series of operating standards for SGA. The act confirms that SGA should send a monthly update email to the student body to inform students of their progress. It also adds a new speaking format to SGA meetings. Nathan Mudrak, the sophomore class president, emphasized that the act changes very little from past rules.

“This is voting on the entire rule set,” Mudrak said. “That’s talking about how the agenda minutes are distributed, technology, food and drink policy, SGA sending out a monthly email from the SGA account, the excused absence policy, conflict of interest form, and then required meetings. All that stuff is the same, except the moderated caucus rule set.”

The Moderated Caucus Act will not have an effect on the student body.

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