By: Logan Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Oct. 4, 2018, Student Senate discussed Rent College Pads, a “Halloween Crawl,” the Minnesota Out Conference, the American Multicultural Studies (AMCS) controversy, the appointment of a new senator-at-large and a potential new bulletin board in the CMU. A full agenda can be found here.
The two main topics at Thursday night’s meeting were the AMCS controversy and the Rent College Pads proposal.
The AMCS controversy started with a banner placed on the Women’s and Gender Studies department bulletin board last week.
Student Body President Rahil Pereira presented the agenda item as informational in case students asked the senators about the issue. He said because administration has not released a lot of official information, he wanted to avoid spreading rumors.
“What took me aback was the wording on this, very strong and obviously with a lot of emotion. The fact that this was commissioned by the faculty of the Women’s Study Program … is something that struck me,” Pereira said in the meeting. “I don’t want us to discuss ‘what if’ this and ‘what if’ that.”
Pereira said he plans to meet with the faculty who commissioned the art piece to hear their perspective, and he invited any other senators to join him. He wants to speak with the Women’s and Gender Studies department to find out why there is a gap between what administration is saying and what was written on the poster.
“At the end of the day, regardless of what happens to the minor, we want what’s best for students,” Pereira said. “And if students feel that this minor is of use to them, this is something that we would want to work towards preserving.”
Secretary of Student Senate, Baylee Hanson, and the Senators of Education and Human Services, Emily Deglman and Jill Maahs, met with the Dean of Education and Human Services, Ok-Hee Lee. Lee had informed these student senators about the discussions she has been a part of and the view of the individuals who are considering the removal of the AMCS minor.
“It’s just a removal of the minor, and it’s actually to strengthen the student body,” Deglman said in the meeting. “More students are going to … have to take AMCS classes due to the LASC goal seven, [and] other degree requirements.”
Deglman said that these courses are important to students, especially education majors like herself, and future teachers need to be aware of the multiple cultural backgrounds their students will be a part of.
Hanson said that Lee confirmed no decision has been made, but there has been discussion about the benefits of discontinuing the minor.
Rent College Pads
“The cabinet and I discussed a new service we were approached with by an organization,” Pereira said. “[Rent College Pads] basically lists housing options for students who want to live off campus.”
Pereira says that the organization does not charge students for using the service, but instead charges the landlords.
“This is in no way, shape or form trying to undermine our housing department here on campus,” Pereira said. “On this campus, we encourage students to live on campus, and it is a requirement for first-year students to do so.”
According to Pereira, the cabinet recognizes that the majority of upperclassmen choose to live off campus after the freshman year. He said this service would provide a safer and easier option for students.
The company usually approaches student senates on campus when looking at providing their services at a new university. If they receive positive feedback from the students, the organization approaches the administration and appropriate departments to inquire about being integrated with the school.
“They seem to be there for the students,” Pereira said. “They would help students find each other and match up potential roommates together, they would take care of leasing apartments and houses, and they also have landlords in a bound contract when they sign up their listings.”
Pereira said that the purpose of the contract is to prevent landlords from evicting students and to provide a conflict resolution tool for the students and landlords.
Maddie Jo Carlson, Vice President of Student Senate, offered to use the contacts she’s made at Students United to reach out to three other universities within the Minnesota State System that use Campus Rent Pads. She wants to see how the organization has affected other campuses.
In general, the senators showed support for the organization on campus, but they wished to table the discussion until they have more time to research the organization and hear back from the other schools.
Other Agenda Items
During the meeting, Student Senate also voted in Ritu Panndey, a third-year biology major, as their newest senator-at-large; approved the SABC recommendation of $6,250 for the Men’s Rugby Club; approved the creation of a “Halloween Taskforce” for a planned “Halloween Crawl;” and discussed the agenda item regarding a Student Senate bulletin board in the CMU.