NEWS: USG votes to alter meeting attendance policies, hears SHARE initiatives

By ANNA MAZARAKIS
Staff Writer

USG officers voted to make constitutional changes that would alter the existing officer attendance policies for meetings of the Student Groups Recognition Committee and heard a presentation about new initiatives to educate students about sexual assault on campus at Sunday evening’s meeting.

The debate over SGRC meeting attendance policy continued from last week’s meeting. The members voted on changes that would cease to require that the USG president, vice president and treasurer attend the meetings of the SGRC, but would allow them to attend the meetings as non-voting members, which would update the constitution to conform to current practice.

Senate members expressed confusion over the proposed changes, including what the role of the president and vice president would be in regard to the SGRC and what the changes to the constitution meant.

The confusion and disorder of USG members speaking out of turn resulted in vice president Carmina Mancenon ’14 using her gavel to call for order and president Shawon Jackson ’15 asking for the members’ attention.

“It’s really just to make it so the current practices line up with the constitution,” communications director Richard Lu ’16 explained, since the president, vice president and treasurer have not attended SGRC meetings in recent history.

Despite the changes that the USG voted on, it was noted that there would still be differences in the mandates of the USG constitution and the SGRC charter.

“It’s documentary hierarchy: The constitution trumps all,” U-Councilor Elan Kugelmass ’14 said.

When the vote was taken, 14 members were in favor, five were opposed and two abstained. SGRC chair Benedict Wagstaff pointed out that a lot of the changes that were discussed last week with regard to the constitution also passed, so the senate would need to vote on constitutional changes again next week.

“This is a farce, guys,” University Student Life Committee chair Greg Smith ’15 said. “We should just table this to executive session and use that time to continue discussing this.”

Wagstaff then moved on from the debate by introducing Thaigers, the newly approved Thai student group on campus. Thaigers hopes to promote a better understanding of Thai culture, provide assistance to those interested in traveling to Thailand and create a network of Thai Princetonians.

The USG also heard a presentation from Isabelle Laurenzi ’15, the president of Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising Resources and Education, on the recent campus-wide debate regarding sexual assault and the USG’s theme of access for information and resources. Jackson had invited Laurenzi in response to inquiries from students about what the USG was going to do in response to the data regarding the incidence of sexual assault on campus disclosed in a Daily Princetonian story in early March. In response to these inquiries, Jackson has also met with SHARE Director Jackie Deitch-Stackhouse.

Shreya Murthy ’13 and Kellie Valladares ’13, two of the authors of a recent petition for an updated survey regarding sexual assault on campus, were also in attendance.

Laurenzi introduced SHARE’s current initiatives to the USG senate, including the hiring of a new SHARE staff member to serve as a Prevention Coordinator and a prevention workshop, “Stand Up,” scheduled for Tuesday. Laurenzi also discussed initiatives aimed at incoming freshmen, including revisions to “The Way You Move,” SHARE’s presentation during freshman orientation, and the suggestion of creating an online orientation program educating incoming freshmen about sexual assault similar to the alcohol education module AlcoholEDU.

Laurenzi also discussed a new initiative by SHARE that seeks to place liaisons in each of the eating clubs and the residential colleges. Laurenzi explained that SHARE currently has a liaison in most of the eating clubs, but not all.

Campus and Community Affairs chair Trap Yates ’14 will serve as liaison between SHARE and the USG, Jackson announced.

Yates is a former associate Street editor for the ‘Prince.’

The USG also approved a $2,000 funding request from Projects Board co-chair Jared Peterson ’14 for the Asian Night Market. In an update about the upcoming Class Council elections, chief elections manager Rachel Nam ’15 explained that the elections timeline would be altered this year to allow the elections to begin on Sunday, April 7, rather than on the traditional Monday. Nam also discussed the possibility of placing voting stations in Frist to increase voter turnout.

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