SGA legislative body discusses Point Alert system and City-University Life course in recent meeting

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Editor-in-Chief

During the longest SGA meeting of the year thus far, a variety of topics were brought up for discussion by senators and executive cabinet members alike. 

The first open-floor session began with President Dennis McDermott acknowledging that the executive cabinet was aware of an off-campus party that took place over the last weekend and have been receiving numerous reports about such an event involving university students. Recording Secretary Cole D’Alicandro added later that any further information or concerns surrounding this event could be sent to him, the student concerns email address or the Office of Student Conduct. 

A discussion on the effectiveness of the Point Alert emergency system was expanded upon from last Monday’s meeting. Senator Nanina Grund inquired about the lack of a Point Alert being sent out in regard to the fire alarm going off in Lawrence Hall mid-afternoon on Monday. She expressed that she was curious about the actual use of the Point Alert System.

“The fire alarm today was dealt with because the fire alarm went off in the building that there potentially was a fire in and asked all of the students that were in that building to get out of that building. So, the emergency that was dealt with was dealt with through the fire system. Anybody who is not in the building is not immediately at risk. That is the entire purpose of the fire alarm system”, Dean of Student Life and SGA advisor Michael Gieseke said . 

Dean Gieseke also said that the overuse of the Point Alert system could become a situation where community members begin to complain about its abundant usage. Point Alert is used when the event impacts the safety of all of campus. 

“I think there has to be somewhere in between. Not telling us about when an emergency is happening when it’s immediately affecting anyone who could potentially be on campus, and not necessarily the point of their providing information about a fire alarm that went off during the day,” President McDermott said in response. 

Due to this conversation, the effectiveness of the curriculum in the City-University Life classes was brought up during the discussions.

Senator Jade Steele expressed her familiarity with the ALICE system of emergency response because of her time within the School of Education, but she expressed doubts that other students on campus were familiar with this concept. 

Senator Grace Tyler Frank-Rempel expressed that this concept is one that should be discussed in City-University Life classes during a student’s freshman year and that there is no excuse for not knowing it as there are posted signs in every classroom about said procedure. 

Senators TJ Graise and Samantha Cevasco stated their lack of understanding to this concept, reaffirming Senator Steele’s belief. 

“This conversation makes it aware that what the class should be doing, it is not doing what it’s meant to do and teach this. This points out an obvious disconnect from what’s presented in a course description to what is actually not being delivered,” President Pro-Tempore Sophie Burkholder said. 

Towards the end of the meeting during the second open floor discussions, Senator Graise stated that when SGA and the university looks at evaluating what is in the City-University Life classes and making sure this information is available or a requirement for more non-traditional students like transfer students. Senator Frank-Rempel proposed bringing this up to the Pioneer Ambassador team as a way to implement these topics during orientation.  

During the reports of the Senators, Senator Anna Skeels reported on their attendance, with fellow Senator Kendra Summers-Stephens at the most recent Diversity and Inclusion Faculty committee meeting. During this meeting, Skeels noted how the faculty leader of the committee “was unhappy with behavior, or the participation of the members” while further talks of disbanding the committee were mentioned. 

Skeels said, “We should do as much as we can to make sure this does not happen because Diversity and Inclusion is a very important topic for us as a school and as humans.”

President McDermott expressed that he would contact the leader of that committee to make sure it stays in place and to find out the issues within. 

The talks of an attempt to stop tuition increases and receive more transparency continued this week as President McDermott pushed for a vote for the resolution. 

During discussions, Senators Madyson Piper and Frank-Rempel questioned the legitimacy of this idea being voted on this week as a resolution rather than waiting for further clarification.

University president Paul Hennigan is expected to attend the SGA Legislative Body Meeting on Feb. 15. Frank-Rempel and Piper concurred that voting on this now instead of tabling the idea could impact the trajectory of this meeting with Hennigan and potentially look like a harsh or disrespectful step towards increasing transparency. 

“I think there is a value in the way things are presented in a prioritized order. It might be more advantageous to us and more respectable if we just wait till after we already have the conversation, because that way the respect is mutual,” Senator Piper said.

Nevertheless, the idea was not tabled, and the motion carried to draft the resolution and a press release, with a two-thirds majority voting for the approval of the resolution. 

President McDermott conveyed gratitude for the behavior and composure of the SGA during this meeting. 

“The vote was close, that shows that everyone really believes in their opinions and we don’t have people just voting because people tell them to vote,” said President McDermott to end the meeting.