SGA Senate Passes Two Resolutions Regarding Blackboard and VP Mike Allen

By Katie Ward

The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate had a post-Spring Break meeting on Monday, March 18, during which senators passed two resolutions and promoted several upcoming campus events.

The meeting opened with the approval of the previous session’s minutes, the adoption of the evening’s agenda, and a brief update from the chairs of the five senate committees.

Resolution 015, sponsored by Senator Juliana Fitzsimmons and co-sponsored by Senators Kaitlin Shanahan and Gemma del Carmen, was a request that all professors use Blackboard Learn in their courses.

The resolution said that it may be detrimental to students when professors choose not to use the platform, and that the “array of disconnected emails creates unnecessarily difficulty in tracking handouts and assignments that are distributed in this manner,” according to the resolution.

Senator Melissa Zentz mentioned that professors could also benefit from reminder emails about when Blackboard training sessions will be held, because many professors don’t use the platform because they have not been properly trained to use it.

Shanahan emphasized that the resolution only made a request that the platform be used; if passed and approved, students would be able to email professors who don’t use Blackboard and formally request that they incorporate the program into their course, with the approved resolution as supporting documentation.

Resolution 015 was unanimously passed by the Senate.

Resolution 016, sponsored by Gerald Sharpe and co-sponsored by all the heads of the Senate committees, formally thanked Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Allen for his years of service to the university and commitment to students in his various roles.

Senator Leigh Calotta reserved time to promote the Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) and the Senate’s support of its fundraising efforts. She mentioned that during the last school year, 46% of seniors donated, but the SPC is aiming to beat that this year, although the current percentage of donations is lower than last year’s was at this point.

During the open floor portion of the session, senators plugged several events they are a part of.

Senator Gerald Sharpe also used the time to provide updates on a resolution to “install environmentally-friendly filtered water fountains in major academic buildings on campus” and “ask the Office of Facilities to repair water fountains that are damaged, dirty, or produce cloudy water.”

Calotta provided updates on her intention to make the campus smoke-free, and her fellow representative of the School of Nursing, Senator Anthony Vincent, threw his support behind her resolution and asked other senators for their support of the initiative.

Shanahan also updated the assembly on her efforts to make the Office of Transportation website more reachable and user-friendly for both students and guests, and provide clarity about the issuing of parking tickets.    

Vice President Kirby mentioned at the beginning of the meeting that Senator Mackisey and SGA President Jimmy Harrington had been invited to attend that week’s meeting of the Faculty Assembly (FA). The FA had addressed a letter in response to the SGA’s Resolution 014, which asked the FA to “suspend its continued misinformation, malalignment, incorrect implication, and circumvention of the University’s shared governance model.

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