SGA office | Photo by Sarah Cavender | The Wright State Guardian
The Student Government Association (SGA) held a public meeting on Sunday night to address recent events and call for unity.
Condemning attacks on journalists
In a statement at the beginning of the meeting, Student Body President Ivan Mallett acknowledged and condemned the recent attacks on journalists.
“It should be noted that with recent protests in the United States that there have been over 300 reported instances of journalists being attacked, including student journalists from our friends at Ohio State working at the Lantern” said Mallett. “I condemn all attacks against journalists and I stand in perpetual support of The Guardian and their team as they continue the important work of keeping our community informed.”
Addressing the George Floyd protests
“I forcefully assert that Black Lives Matter,” said Mallett, in his prolonged statement. “The murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests is and should be a reminder to all of us that there is a lot of work to be done in this country until the words that are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence are fully realized.”
Mallett reminded the community of the call to action to have all police department members undergo implicit bias training, which was announced in a joint statement between SGA and the Black Student Union (BSU).
SGA and BSU received positive feedback from both Edwards and Police Chief Finnie. A timeline for training has been hindered by the pandemic, but online alternatives are being looked into, according to Mallett.
“Ivan and I have discussed with Senate President Luehrmann about having some sort of training for professors… that they can enroll in whether it’s online or in person for the upcoming year to ensure that they understand what the minority experience is like in college, especially during these times,” said Adrian Williams, student body vice president.
Williams also brought up the issue that WSU is still without a chief diversity officer, as of May 29.
“Obviously we don’t have a lot of positions filled, but we think that during this time, it should be placed at the top of the priority list going forward,” said Williams.
Earlier this month, Edwards announced during a university WebEx call that the Chief Diversity Officer position will be replaced with a Director of Multicultural Affairs. She added that this position will be a part of the President’s cabinet.
Call for unity
“In recent weeks I have been in steady communication from leaders around the university. All of these interactions have been respectful, productive, and necessary,” said Mallett. “I have been hopeful and proud, despite the new challenges we face, and the old challenges that are exacerbated by the new challenges, that we have been working together with unity.”
Mallett informed the community that progress is being made and shared his pride for WSU. He also took the time to address an unnamed group of individuals, who have not been sharing in his pride.
“This feeling of hope and pride is still largely justified, however it has been dampened by a small group of individuals at the university. I want to publicly and unequivocally denounce any divisive language and behavior used by these individuals,” said Mallett. I want to remind us all that these few bad actors do not speak for the vast majority of professors at our university. I encourage each of you to refrain from engaging with them when they attempt to sow division. It will be to their detriment when we make the active decision to stay above the fray. I have been consistent that the division needs to end, and I hope that each of you will join me in that message.”
A resolution was passed encouraging unity among everyone at WSU.
Proposed by Jackson Cornwall, the resolution addressed the recent struggles of the coronavirus and stated that President Edwards has “led the university through these difficult times with optimism, diligence, and transparency always putting the needs of the students first.”
The resolution calls on all the members of the WSU community to refrain from divisive rhetoric and to support all athletics and student organizations of the university.
“The Student Government Association here assembled at Wright State University calls upon all members of the Raider community to come together in an effort to preserve the countless opportunities available to students and not resort to divisive rhetoric that is meant to divide us in an already difficult time; and be it further, that we declare that Athletics and Student Organizations are essential parts of the college experience and should be treated as such,” according to the resolution.
Survey for fall semester
Mallett advises students to check their emails and participate in a survey sent to all student emails. The survey asks for student opinions about returning to campus for fall semester.
“This is similar to the survey that was given to all faculty members,” said Mallett. “Really what this is for, is the fall planning group to have as much data as possible when we’re trying to make contingencies and plans for returning for fall.”