SGA 11/10 meeting recap: Pass/fail to update, DRC, and director of sustainability


Lauren Wessell

The Student Government Association (SGA) meets every Tuesday from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

At their second to the last meeting of the semester, the Student Government Association (SGA) discussed the UNC Wilmington (UNCW) Disability Resource Center (DRC), provided an update on the pass/fail option for this semester and passed a constitutional amendment to create an executive-level position for sustainability.  

Their guest speaker, Jody Goldstein, the director of UNCW’s DRC, spoke a bit about their office and the resources they have and are working to improve. Specifically using universal design at UNCW to create an inclusive environment for everyone.

“Equitable use means that the design is to be useful and accessible by people with all diverse abilities, to provide some means for all the students or participants in a program and whenever possible, they should have an equivalent use,” Goldstein said. “An example would be using real-time captioning. 

“Another concept is flexibility in use and the design is to accommodate a wide range of individual abilities. If you were going to do a survey, you might base the survey on that everyone has access to the survey, and just offer a variety of options for participation as well. Another concept is that it should be simple and intuitive. I think sometimes we all think that the more complex we make something, the better it is but really designing something that’s straightforward, and that has a predictable manner is really the best way to go. So when we work with faculty, and we try to get them to design, [predictable] syllabus.”

While Goldstein has only been at UNCW since Oct. 12, she said that the university has done a great job creating accessibility across the campus. 

“What I can say is, I didn’t get the opportunity to go in a lot of the buildings but just walking around campus I was so impressed that the campus is very universally designed, almost every building that I saw had equitable use and buildings had ramps,” Goldstein said. “Not only is there good access, there’s great signage, almost every door I saw you knew where to get in, you felt welcome getting in the door. Those are concepts that we want to apply to the classroom and we want to apply to programming too.”

Following Goldstein’s presentation, SGA moved into their weekly reports.

Matt Talone, SGA’s president, gave an update on a motion for a vote of no confidence against Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli by the Faculty Senate at their Nov. 10 meeting.

“That motion ended up being postponed indefinitely, which means that specific motion can never go to the floor of faculty senate ever again,” Talone said. “There was also another motion that was introduced, it was a motion of censure against the Chancellor. The difference between that and a vote of no confidence is that a censure vote is open disapproval but leaves room for growth and change and a vote of no confidence means that they have zero confidence at all in his ability as a leader, and the motion of censure was postponed until the December meeting so that all of the faculty senators could talk with the faculty they represent and get kind of an idea of how they should be voting on that next month.”

Robby Fensom, SGA’s Chief of Staff, gave an update on a program he has been working on for over a year, Swipes for Seahawks. Fensom thanked everyone on SGA and various members of UNCW who helped make this program possible. 

Swipes for Seahawks is a meal donation program that allows students with the all-access 5 or 7 block 110 or 80 meal plans to donate extra meal swipes for food-insecure students at UNCW. This program will run until Nov. 24. 

Brianna Ramírez, SGA’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, gave an update on their LatinX Resource book and what it will look like. Ramírez noted that it is heavily influenced by the Upperman African American Cultural Center’s Greenbook.

“The book will have a front cover and when you open it, it will be an opening message from Dr. Segovia, from Centro, and then it will be a message from SGA just talking about what our mission statement is and the importance of this book and what the inspiration was,” Ramírez said. “The next section will be a brief history of Hispanic culture at UNCW including when Centro was founded. And then the last few sections will be the listing of faculty and staff that identifies with Latin or Hispanic and then the Hispanic business in Wilmington.”

Their hope is still to get this out for the next semester.

Next, Jake Linker, SGA’s Student Services Committee Chair, encouraged students to get tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19) before leaving for Thanksgiving and winter break. Linker also mentioned that the hours for the Student Health Center and the drive-thru/walk-up testing sites will have extended hours to accommodate an increase in testing before the break.  

Thomas Wilson, SGA’s Academic Affairs Committee Chair, gave an update on the status of the pass/fail resolution that was presented to the Faculty Senate at their Nov. 10 meeting.

“The Academic Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate was unanimous in their decision to disapprove of the idea,” Wilson said. “It’s not happening, we fought a good fight. However, they did come back with this, and according to the provost, and via the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, withdrawals will be permitted without the penalty to the 16 credit hour limit. So you can take a full withdrawal of this whole semester, as long as you’re currently making a D or above in those classes right now, and you’re not withdraw failing, you can drop your whole semester and it would not count against your possible 16. 

“I believe they’re going to be prolonging through the end of next semester as well. Also, as always, extenuating circumstances applications to withdraw are always accepted and they did say that they were going to be more lenient, given the circumstances of this year.”

Brayden Roberge, SGA’s freshman class president, mentioned his committee is working on planning virtual and socially distanced events for the freshmen class. Roberge said he hopes that these events will help create a sense of community amongst the freshmen class that have been taken away due to COVID-19. 

SGA’s meeting ended by passing a constitutional amendment that seeks to add a Director of Sustainability position to their executive board. This amendment would also elevate the status of the sustainability committee to an executive one as well. 

Constitutional Amendment (Passed Version) by Veronica Wernicke on Scribd

Constitutional Amendment “An Amendment for the Creation of the Director of Sustainability’ passed with 38 yeses, one no and zero abstentions. 

“The background of it was that sustainability is a key piece of this year’s platform, it was a key piece of last year’s platform, it’s kind of becoming a more solidified focus and to really ensure that it would be kept at the forefront of everything and kind of exemplify its importance to us,” Talone said. “To show people like, hey, administrators, hey, students, like we care about this as an organization so much that we’ll pay somebody to do it and it’s going to be on our executive board. 

“It was something that we felt could be elevated to an executive level, with increased responsibilities. It is becoming a big piece of the focus of quite a few student organizations. So we figured that if we could either coordinate large scale programming with these groups or lead a charge on divestment if that’s something that will be done in the future. [It would] exemplify its importance to us and the students.”

 You can watch their weekly zoom meetings which are held every Tuesday from 6:30 pm. to 8 pm. Their last meeting for the fall semester will be on Nov. 17.