Senate Briefings: Tuesday, April 10

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Gender-Inclusive, On-Campus Dorms

A student task force dedicated to investigating the feasibility and implementation of gender inclusive housing made a presentation to Senate of their findings to date. The discussion began with a set of definitions and conventions relating to the LGBTQ community, including the difference between one’s gender identity and one’s gender expression.
The task force said the lack of gender inclusive housing at USF contributed to a feeling of discomfort and a lack of safety among some students.
Talks with USF’s administration show that a corresponding administrative committee on gender inclusive housing has been formed, and that a circulating petition for the housing program had the support of 289 students as of last Tuesday.
Concerns included the loss of conservative alumni contributions who would not support the initiative due to their views on sexuality, as well as concern from parents who may hesitate to have their children partake in a gender-inclusive housing program. The task force said their housing proposal would not replace all other living arrangements on campus, but comprise a section of floors or a particular floor in several dormitories, much like living-learning communities currently occupy a portion of some residence halls.
Senators and executives recommended the group seek input from individuals not necessarily in support of establishing a gender inclusive program, because the current committee is mainly comprised of “like-minded individuals,” according to Lex Wochner, ASUSF president. Others suggested the group study how other colleges have set up similar programs and seek more hard data to present at a later time.

Revisions to Senator Codes

Upcoming general elections and the accompanying transitioning process for senators and executives were discussed by ASUSF officials.
Kelly Cook, vice president of internal affairs, urged senators to consider including resources and suggestions to better suit the senator codes’ purpose as a “miniature training document.”
Individual senators were also instructed to include a personal letter to future senators who will fill current positions. Documentation, such as a timeline of initiatives proposed during the recent term and a reflection of past performances, is to be included for each senator as a historic aid for incoming Senate members.
Senators next year will negotiate a discrete point loss system for absences and tardiness to general and committee hearings, in order to prevent lateness.
An increase in the hourly and sub-committee work Senators are expected to complete each week is also scheduled. This proposal met members’ questions about the need for the increase and the possibility of compensation for Senators in the future.
The Electoral Governing Board and Senate also reminded every non-returning Senator to assign themselves a minimum of two hours to staff student voting stations for the general elections, which are scheduled to take place from Monday, April 16 to Thursday, April 20. Returning and prospective senators cannot participate in the elections process.

Campus Activities Board Shares Findings from National Conference

CAB presented what they learned after attending the National Association for Campus Activities regional conference, including how to better market campus events, increase student interest, and improve club visibility. The presentation was timely, particularly as the Senate’s Finance committee finalizes their round of budget hearings for the university’s 15 funded accounts this semester.

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