The Elizabethtown College Student Senate held their weekly meeting Thursday, Nov. 30 in Hoover 212 at 3:45 p.m.
The meeting was opened by senior Senate President Sean Fiedler, who quickly proceeded to swear a new senator into office. The recitation of the oath by all senators followed, and then attendance was taken.
Fiedler asked for any student comments or announcements. Two followed: one regarding the continuation of music at a high volume being played late at night in the Blue Bean, and the other regarding the gender pronouns on letters asking community members and Etown alumni for donations.
Fiedler took note of these problems and agreed to contact the appropriate office in both cases. This concluded the open floor for announcements.
Next, the representative from Campus Security had an administrative report. Campus Security has launched a program that will continue until Dec.15 which offers an alternative to students paying off parking violation fines.
In the program, students can donate nonperishable food items and turn in their parking violations. For a $20 fine, students should bring in 10 items; for a $50 fine students need to donate 20 items. This offer is not limited to unpaid tickets, and students who have already paid fines can turn in food items and have their accounts credited.
Additionally, there is no limit on the number of fines that can be paid in this way; as many tickets as a student has may be paid in this manner. All of the nonperishable food items will be donated to the Community Cupboard of Elizabethtown to help local families in need during the holiday season.
The representative of Campus Security also offered an update to Student Senate about the fire alarm in Founders Residence Hall. For the majority of the semester, the alarm has been going off without reason at random times, often in the middle of the night.
While repairs have been done on the fire alarm system in the building, more will be done over the break in between the semesters. The alarm should be completely repaired when students return in January. This concluded the administrative report from the office of Campus Security.
Next, a primary focus of the meeting came up: the proposed changes to Title IX. The reason for the discussion was a letter received by Student Senate from the student government at Georgetown University.
The letter was a copy of one they plan on sending to the Department of Education and to Congress regarding revisions to Title IX. The changes to Title IX, proposed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, refer to the necessary evidence and investigation style on cases of sexual assault and harassment.
Prior to this, the standard was for one investigator to look into the allegations and determine the preponderance of evidence, or to which side more than half of the evidence falls. Under the new policy, schools are not required to use preponderance of evidence, and some may switch to a clear and convincing evidence standard. This would require the victim to present more evidence and could potentially be harder on the victim.
For this reason, Georgetown composed the letter requesting the old standard be maintained and requested support from other colleges and universities.
After the senate debriefed, Fiedler opened the floor for discussion. All opinions voiced were in opposition to supporting the letter.
Reasons cited included fear of misrepresenting the desires of the Elizabethtown student body and the concern that preponderance of evidence gave too much power to one person for that style of investigation to be just. The Senate voted against supporting Georgetown’s letter.
Lastly, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Marianne Calenda gave an update on the new travel form procedure on JayWeb that will be replacing the previous system.
In the new procedure, any groups intending to take an off-campus trip must fill out a form on JayWeb to alert the College of the location the group will be and the members in the group.
The reason for the shift is that, in the case of an emergency, the College will now have full awareness of the location of its students. The use of the new forms will launch Wednesday, Dec. 6.
The final Student Senate meeting of the semester will be held on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 3:40 p.m.