By Patrick D. Lewis
The 2023 Fall semester saw seven resolutions and one bill passed by the Student Government Association (SGA)’s 9th Senate. Senate 9 saw some of the most contentious debates as well as multiple unanimous approvals.
Resolution 1, sponsored by Senator Michael Kish (Class of 2026) and co-sponsored by Senators Corey (TRS), Hermes (Class of 2027), Fritz (Busch School), and Tucker (Philosophy), expresses the Senate’s support for the offering of a Latin Mass on campus. Senator Kish noted, in his address, that University Chaplain and Vice President of Ministry and Mission Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P., had expressed support for the resolution and was prepared to act on it.
In a January 5 email to the University community, the Office of Campus Ministry announced that it would begin offering a Latin Mass on Sundays at 9:00 am in Caldwell Hall. In a statement, Campus Ministry said the decision was made based on requests from “the University’s President and the Student Government Association. The decision was made with a view to deepen and expand the liturgical experience of students on campus, particularly within the context of the Eucharistic Revival and in the lead up to the Eucharistic Congress this summer.”
Senator Kish, in an email, said, “I was overjoyed. Especially considering its setting in the gorgeous Caldwell Chapel, I am excited to attend and happy to note a flurry of positive feedback about this resolution. I hope that this will give everyone an opportunity to appreciate the rich beauty of the Church’s language, in a familiar form and beautiful location.”
Senator Hermes, in an email, said, “Though we felt confident that the Mass would be added, it’s always a pat on the back to see it officially announced. A special thanks to Father Bernard and Father Aquinas for working hard with the Student Government Association to accomplish this.”
Reaction on campus has been positive. Matthew Allen, a Junior and major in Classical Studies, said, “Pretty happy about that [the Latin Mass], actually. It’s nice to have a Latin Mass on campus.”
Resolution 002, sponsored by Senator Crawford (Arts and Sciences) and co-sponsored by Senator Gehrig (Arts and Sciences), calls for the formation of a faculty committee on Disability Support Services (DSS).
In an interview, Senator Crawford said last year, when he served as director of SGA’s Disability Initiative, saw “a gap between students and professors” when it comes to DSS issues. He says he heard from students who had “issues with professors who didn’t accommodate them or didn’t know how to accommodate them.”
Sen. Crawford says he purposefully left the wording if the resolution vague, which he says caused a couple of students to vote against or abstain from voting on the proposal, because “at the end of the day this [whether and how his proposals are implemented] isn’t up to me.” He envisions a committee that would be made up of faculty members, one or two students, and a representative from DSS that would cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from how to better train faculty with respect to accommodating students to addressing allegations of cheating in DSS testing environments where supervision is often less than in a classroom. The Tower reached out to DSS who have not given comment on the resolution at this time.
Resolution 003 calls on the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Department of Public Safety (DPS) to offer training to students and faculty that is directly for active shooter situations, citing the lack of preparedness that was apparent during and after a “swatting” call that affected campus in Spring of 2023. It was sponsored by Senator Bert (Class of 2026) and co-sponsored by Senator Michels (Class of 2024).
Senator Bert, in a statement, said, “This resolution was important to bring to the Senate to ensure that our university community has the proper information and resources to be prepared for a multitude of situations that could put us at risk.”
In a statement, the University said, “At the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year, the Department presented a new video that helps train the community on active shooter situations. Titled, Run.Hide.Fight, the video provides a step-by-step guide for what to do in an active shooter situation. This video was presented at orientation, is available online, and the Department is available to present it along with additional training to those who are interested.”
Resolution 004, sponsored by Senator Lance (Class of 2025) and co-sponsored by Senators Graf (Rome School) and D’Albero (Architecture), encourages the University to “on a bi-monthly basis” clean the residence hall washing machines with disinfectant and to clean under rubber flaps which collected debris. The resolution cites debris that collects to a point where it spills into the washing machines and that many students have expressed concern about the cleanliness of these machines.
When asked whether this would be carried out, a University statement said, “The University has been made aware of the resolution, identifying the need for more frequent cleaning of the washing machines in the residence halls. We appreciate the input from students regarding this matter. The housing office is committed to working with its vendor to address the issue and will continue to monitor students’ concerns, addressing them accordingly.”
Resolution 005, sponsored by Senator Raddell (Nursing) and co-sponsored by Senators Lance and D’Albero, calls on the University to replace the Starbucks in the Pryzbyla Center with a “student engagement cafe.”
Resolution 006, sponsored by Senator Tong (Class of 2027) and co-sponsored by Senator Hargrave (Engineering), requests that “A course tracking sheet, updated and published each semester, will be provided by each academic department to its respective faculty advisors in order to aid students in their understanding of what is required of them for their major, minor, certificate, and accelerated programs.” This resolution has been enacted accordingly.
Finally, Resolution 007, sponsored by Senator Graf and co-sponsored by Senators D’Albero, Holcomb (Rome School), Lance, and Paulson (Nursing), asks that “Water bottle filling stations are installed adjacent to the water fountains in Ward Hall’s lower
lobby and outside Ward 210.” It references environmental concerns as well as the building’s primary users, vocalists both in academic programs and student groups, who require frequent water intake to perform better. No updates on this resolution have been announced.
The complete list of passed legislation and the number of Senators that voted for or against each legislation is:
- Resolution 001: A Resolution to show support for traditional liturgy (19-1-2)
- Resolution 002: A Resolution to advocate for a standing disability support services faculty committee (14-3-4)
- Bill 001: A Bill to update senate bylaws language to accommodate persons with disabilities (21-0-1)
- Resolution 003: A resolution to increase safety training for students and faculty (25-0-0)
- Resolution 004: A resolution to clean undergraduate residence hall washing machines (26-0-0)
- Resolution 005: A resolution to support the establishment of a student engagement cafe in the pryzbyla university center (17-9-0)
- Resolution 006: A resolution to provide updated course tracking sheets for major advisors (26-0-0)
- Resolution 007: A resolution to increase water accessibility in Ward Hall (25-0-0)