Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 28, 2022

SGA signs onto letter calling for President Biden to cancel student-loan debt

By XINYUE GU | October 25, 2021

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The kickoff event speakers included University President Ronald J. Daniels, members of University administration and community members.

Student Debt-Relief Letter Sign-on 

During the 2020 presidential campaign, President Joe Biden pledged to enact student-loan forgiveness. As part of an effort to push Biden to fulfill this campaign promise, college student governments across the country, including at Hopkins, have been circulating a letter calling on the Biden administration to cancel all federal student-loan debt.

  • Many members of the Student Government Association (SGA) have already signed the letter.
  • “This letter is to call President Biden into accountability for student debt relief. We’re asking his authority if he will cancel all student-loan debt immediately,” Executive President Mehak Ali said.
  •  Ali added that SGA hopes the letter will also push Congress to act on the issue. 
  • The letter passed unanimously. 

Mental Health Day Letter

In order to unify the various calendars across its campuses, the University has eliminated fall break. Members of SGA have been trying to persuade administration to give students a reprieve from school work.

  • Senior Class Senator Subha Bhatta presented the letter regarding SGA’s progress regarding a Mental Health Day, which is to be sent in the upcoming monthly SGA email. “We’ve been waiting for their response for so long, and [SGA Faculty Advisor] Carolyn [Harris] had been trying so hard to get us into contact with the right people,” she said. Bhatta explained why SGA has been silent regarding news on the Mental Health Day; “we want to make the student body aware of that,” she said. 
  • Currently, SGA has collected over 1000 responses on their survey about introducing a Mental Health Day. “This [new] letter is just to get more people to participate and provide feedback for the student body,” Bhatta said.
  • Sophomore Class President Kobi Khong wanted to push for other options for an official break, since it would be impossible to change the registrar’s calendar this year. “Over 1000 survey results is a big issue,“ Khong said. “I think we should still try and push for something to happen this year.”
  • Junior Class Senator JiWon Woo favored Khong’s idea. “I feel like we could definitely reach out to the dean and see if all assignments can be optional on one day, making a semi-break,” he said. 
  • Executive Vice President Breanna Soldatelli liked sending this feedback letter to the student body and thinks that this is, “a good way to keep the communication and transparency that we promised to have.”
  • Senior Class Senator Grace Wang noticed that fall classes end on a Monday, and proposed that that specific Monday should not be used for due dates. “[Otherwise] the reading period can be full of anxiety and is no longer a break,” she said.

Discussing whether to promote a Vaccination Event in Washington, D.C.

President of the Doctors Without Borders Student Chapter at Hopkins Christina Sia presented Rally to End the Pandemic and Vaccinate the World, a project intended to be held in D.C. that is hosted by Justice is Global.

  • Sia explained the motivation behind this grassroots rally. That “millions of people in the Global South will not get access to the vaccine until 2024," she said, is “not only a human rights crisis“ but also “a threat to the safety of Global North residents and the entire global economy." She would like to see help for advertising.
  • Junior Class Senator Anthony Singleton asked what students would need to do at the D.C. rally. Sia explained that the students would just need to be there and raise attention for the situation.
  • Senior Class Senator Pritika Parmar had concerns over SGA officially promoting this off-campus event. “We should have a very clear idea of what we are advertising,” she said. She felt SGA should take extra caution in risk management to avoid any unforeseen consequences, especially, if SGA does not have details like the bus departure time or back-up plans should a student be injured. 
  • The advertising decision is tabled until SGA receives further information. 

Administration (Admin) Networking Event 

SGA continued its discussion about the Admin Networking Event, with various members outlining topics they hope to discuss with specific administrative figures. 

  • Soldatelli argued that this is a good way to meet the University’s administration without scheduling individual meetings. 
  • Singleton would like to meet with the School of Engineering’s deans for expanding engineering classes and clubs, both in funding and in spaces. “There’s not a lot of room for hands-on projects,” he said.
  • Junior Class Senator Chinat Yu would also like to meet with the academic deans in order to “understand more about the situation with student evaluation and understanding their stances on remote education.” 
  • Sophomore Class Senator Ireland Parrish would like to invite deans from both the School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences and staff from Student Disability Services (SDS) to discuss professors not accommodating students’ needs.
  • Sophomore Class Senator Raj Bhatt would like to invite Director of Academic Support Ariane Kelly, who oversees the PILOT program, about revamping this student service. “I know personally that [Organic Chemistry PILOT sessions] came in clutch, and I would like to see PILOT expanded to more courses,” he said. 

Confirmations

  • Freshman Class President Ryan Chou and Freshman Class Senators Jackson Morris, John Liu, Jean Zhou, Dalhart Dobbs III and Kya Nicholson were sworn in.
  • Sophomore Class Senator Harvey McGuinness was sworn in. 
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