SGA 2/2 meeting recap: Senate tables gun violence survivors awareness resolution

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

During this week’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, the Senate tabled a resolution to make an official national gun violence survivors week at UNCW, heard remarks from Donyell Roseboro, Interim Chief Diversity Officer, about updates from the Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion (OIDI) and approved three appropriations bills in addition to a long list of items on their agenda. 

During open podium, at their Feb. 2 meeting, Bella Dearing, president of UNCW’s Students Demand Action (a chapter of the national gun safety organization Everytown), provided information about requesting that UNCW officially recognize National Gun Violence Survivors Week (Feb. 1-7).

Dearing provided statistics provided by researchers at Everytown to support why UNCW should officially recognize National Gun Violence Survivors Week. Dearing spoke about how her sister witnessed the mass shooting at UNC Charlotte in April 2019 where two students died and four others were wounded.

“The first week of February represents the approximate time that gun deaths in the U.S. surpassed the number of gun deaths experienced by our peer countries in an entire calendar year,” said Dearing. “I would like to make National Gun Violence Survivors Week an official week on campus to recognize the vast impacts that gun violence has not only nationally but in our community too.

“By declaring Feb. 1 through 7 National Gun Violence Survivors Week on campus, it will make known that we stand for and support the gun violence prevention advocacy movement, that we see and hear the victims, survivors and those affected by gun violence. By UNCW publicly stating that we support advocacy around this issue it will show others that we’re trying to do what’s best for our students, and we’re trying to do what’s right for the community and the country.”

A resolution regarding this was later brought to the floor during new business. Resolution or “A Resolution Declaring February 1-7 National Gun Violence Survivors Week” was brought to the floor and Dearing then took questions from Senators. 

A motion to approve the resolution was brought to floor. However, a second motion, to table the resolution to a later meeting to make adjustments and look more into it was also brought to the floor. 

Senators then debated the resolution, questioning the verification and validity of the statistics provided, whether other organizations (especially diverse student organizations) had been requested to co-sponsor it and whether it was being rushed to make the time frame.

Ultimately, the resolution was tabled with 20 yays, 11 nays and four abstentions. 

Other business included a presentation by Roseboro where she provided updates from the OIDI. 

UNCW is currently in the process of adding additional staff for the Upperman African American Cultural Center as well as increasing their budget and expanding their space. As of this meeting, the space proposal has been submitted to the Space Planning Committee in December with a request of expanding from 3,182 square feet to 5,688 square feet. 

In addition they are planning to develop living/learning communities (LLC), “Creating Black Community in Wilmington,” and hope to have those implemented for the fall of 2021 academic year. OIDI is also working on hiring more Black faculty and will be conducting interviews this spring with new hires starting in the fall of 2021. Lastly, they are implementing bias training for all search committees, hiring authorities and administrators. Their policy recommendations will be finalized this spring. 

You can read about the progress of the remainder of the actions items in this presentation

In addition, the Senate passed three appropriations bills. 

Appropriations bill 04, a request from First-Year Spring Admit Mentors for program funding for food and marketing materials, was denied by the appropriations committee 7-0-0 due to inconsistencies in the request. The Senate approved the recommendation to deny this request with 34 yays, zero nays and two abstentions. 

Appropriations bill 05, was a request from the Graduate Student Association MPA (GSA) for an operational budget. The appropriations committee denied this request 7-0-0 due to the fact that the SGA already allocates the GSA a yearly budget. The Senate approved the committee’s recommendation with 35 yays, one nay and zero abstentions.

Lastly, appropriations bill 06, was a request from the Russian and Slavic studies club, to cover $250 in speaker fees for an upcoming event. The appropriations committee approved this request and the Senate did as well with 33 yays, zero nays and one abstention.   

Other items brought up in their reports included the LatinX resource book that Brianna Ramirez, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, has been working on was given its official name “Mi Communidad, mi Familia,” a reminder to sign the sustainability pledge and there are still several open senators positions which can be found on WaveLink.

You can view the SGA’s weekly meetings at 6:30 p.m. by visiting their web page and following the attached Zoom link.