United Student Government recoups after controversial election

Written By Alex Grubbs, USG Beat Writer

United Student Government (USG) President Blaine King called for the governing body to stand in solidarity with the university as it moves to make the university a safer environment for students.

“We can all work together and toward the future,” King said. “We can show Point Park is one community, that we are united.”

Lindsay Onufer, who is a part of the university’s SafeZone program, which provides students within the LGBTQ community safe spaces, as well as an assessment coordinator in the Center for Teaching Excellence, asked USG members how to ensure this safety on campus.

“People are no longer feeling safe on campus,” Onufer continued. “I was shocked to hear that people are scared to die, not just scared of policy changes, but scared someone’s going to kill them in a hate crime.”

As a Republican, Senator Shannon Seger voiced her concern over being scrutinized for voting for Donald Trump during a class activity, pointing out other students making snide comments.

“I told my professor, I said, ‘I don’t think I feel comfortable now saying I voted Republican because I’m like being harassed on campus.’”

A Democrat, Sen. Kayla Damazo echoed this sentiment, acknowledging a polarization between both sides following the election.

Support groups were set up on campus for students on both sides to express their emotions surrounding the election.

“A lot of students aren’t listening to both sides,” Damazo said. “They are listening to their side, not the other side.”

She feels that support groups mixed with both sides would open up discussion between students and a better way to express post-election emotions.

David Rowell, sports, arts and entertainment management professor, gave safety pins to USG members as a way to signify to distressed students that they are safe people to communicate with.

“[We have] the opportunity to wear the safety pin [that] says to people, ‘I’m here. I’m here for you,’’ Rowell said.

SafeZones are also in effect on different locations across campus. A specific sticker designates a room as a safe space. Seventy-five faculty members and students volunteer as part of the SafeZone program.

“I don’t know if everyone knows where the SafeZones are on campus,” Sen. Kaylee Kearns said.

She thinks the locations of these spaces should be more publicized. Onufer said she would work on a directory that details out where each SafeZone location is.

Other items on Monday’s meeting agenda included Pioneer Community Day, a USG-sponsored volunteer event held every April.

King appointed President Pro-Tempore Shaniece Lawrence as the chair of the PCD committee at meeting, with senatorial approval.

The committee is usually created in the spring semester each school year. King wants to get this “on the ground and… running before heading into winter break.”

The finance committee also announced that no clubs or organizations will receive any more funding until a solution to why forms are sent in late is made.

Baldoni said to contact her if anyone has questions regarding funding.

Due to next week’s fall break, USG meetings will continue the following Monday.