The Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly general body meeting on Feb. 21 to rehearse a presentation several members will give to the Hopkins Board of Trustees on March 3. Director of Social Affairs sophomore Milton Diaz also provided updates on the status of the SGA website, which is in the process of being updated.
Board of Trustees presentation
President Breanna Soldatelli and Secretary Elaina Regier plan to present to the Student Life Committee in New York. Vice President Kobi Khong, Treasurer Kya Nicholson, Sophomore Class Senator Jackson Morris and Sophomore Class Senator Dalhart Dobbs will present virtually. During the general body meeting, Soldatelli rehearsed the presentation in its entirety.
- Soldatelli began by explaining the purpose of SGA. “We like to be the liaison between the two groups and do everything we can to ensure both groups are represented,” she said.
- Soldatelli then described constitutional changes made to the Senate last year. The Senate has reduced representatives from seven to five from each class, as well as incorporated several representatives from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, one from each registered student organization category and one from each caucus.
- Soldatelli detailed the role of caucuses. “Caucuses are representative groups of senators and volunteers that are part of particular identity groups, such as the Hispanic-Latinx caucus and the first-generation low-income caucus,” she said.
- SGA added a new position for a director of social affairs to ensure information is effectively distributed to students. Soldatelli noted that SGA has also divided the legislative branch into programming and advocacy functions to allow representatives who are more skilled in one area to specialize.
- SGA will be holding this year’s elections in person and combining their elections with those of the Hopkins Student Organization for Programming. “That allows for greater advertisement of the elections so more students know about [them] and more students will run,” Soldatelli said.
- Soldatelli stated that in order to ease the transition to a post-COVID-19 world, SGA will begin funding several clubs that need funds for travel, including Model United Nations and Mock Trial.
- SGA has also decided to focus its funding on in-person events and advocate for all classes to be recorded virtually and available online, particularly for disabled students who cannot attend class in person.
- Soldatelli presented the results of SGA’s survey on public safety and the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD). 48% of respondents expressed opposition to the JHPD. As a result, SGA wants to ensure that they are advocating for police accountability by holding public safety meetings and having senate members on the Johns Hopkins University Police Accountability Board.
- In response to students’ calls for university-wide improved diversity and inclusion training, SGA has developed new diversity and inclusion trainings and has ensured that disability will been a focus in them. Soldatelli mentioned that the Board of Trustees can help by supporting the Office for Diversity and Inclusion and pushing for trained victim-focused staff in the Office of Institutional Equity.
SGA website updates
Diaz briefly outlined plans for updating and maintaining the SGA website.
- Plans include updating senate membership, removing redundant information, archiving and updating documents, and improving the website’s functionality.
Editor’s note: Milton Diaz is a Marketing Manager for The News-Letter and Resham Talwar is a Finance Manager for The News-Letter. They did not contribute to the reporting, writing or editing of this article.
This article was edited to clarify position titles.
The News-Letter regrets this error.