ASG discusses ability to implement policy change, presence

Before the 2018-19 academic year began, both Allegheny Student Government President Camila Gomez, ’19, and Vice President Gillian Greene, ’20, said they wanted to bring students’ attention to what ASG has and can accomplish.

In its Tuesday, Oct. 23, general assembly meeting, ASG discussed how to further that goal, as well as how to better brand the organization and connect with students, after first addressing the cabinet’s reports.

Director of Diversity and Inclusion Faith Simms,’19, began with a report on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. In the past week, Simms and Class of 2021 Senator Taylor Marzouca met with President James Mullen, Dean of Students April Thompson, Title IX Coordinator Gilly Ford and Dean for Institutional Diversity Kristin Dukes regarding the recent student-led demonstrations that took place the week of Sept. 17.

Simms cited the disconnect between ASG and the general student body as an aspect of concern.

“ASG needs to be a part of policy change,” Simms said.

Following Simms, ASG Attorney General John Fazio, ’19, discussed the College Committees Council. For the past few weeks, the council has been seeking students to fill positions. These committees include the Academic Standards and Awards Committee, Finance and Facilities Committee, Council on Diversity and Equity, Public Events Committee, Curriculum Committee and Campus Life and Community Standards Committee. A motion was approved to fill six of those positions.

Director of Communication and Press David Roach, ’21, discussed the American Student Government Association conference in the District of Columbia that various ASG members attended on October 18 -21. ASGA  supports college and university student governments.

“How can we brand ourselves better as an organization?” Roach asked.

Director of Finance Trevor Day, ’20, addressed finance and reviewed funding for student organizations.

To follow, Class of 2020 Vice President Jason Ferrante, Class of 2021 President Emma Godel and Class of 2022 President Gabby Dorsey spoke on behalf of their respective class constituents. Ferrante discussed a planned meet your constituents day on Sunday, Nov. 4. Dorsey talked about ASG’s plans to create a float out of recycled materials for the Meadville Halloween Parade.

ASG President Camila Gomez, ’19, also reported on the recent ASGA conference.

“(ASG has) a lot going for us in terms of the organization structure,” Gomez said.

Gomez returned to the comments Simms had brought up earlier regarding ASG’s presence on campus.

“We need to have important conversations on how the campus relates to us,” Gomez said. “Students do not always think of us first.”

Gomez said she felt one of the most important ways to accomplish this was for ASG to build trust between it and the student body.

“(It’s) showing students why they can trust us,” Gomez said. “What can we add to this community, and strengthening those bonds.”

After Gomez spoke, Simms asked a motion to be granted for a moderated discussion on how to strengthen student relations.

“(ASG) is not seen as a means to an end to implement and change policy,” Simms said.

Simms said she felt events such as constituent meeting days were a good way to try to narrow the gap, but only if people actually attended them.

“There is opportunity there. … Now we must get people to come to these events,” Simms said. “How do we get students to trust us as student body representatives?”

Ferrante asked how the college could publicize such an event if it decided to hold one.

“What if there was a way to invite these people?” Ferrante asked. “Who can invite them to come and give constituent comments?”

Roach said he believed if more students knew what ASG actually did, they would be more connected to its work.

“(It is) really about getting to know what we do on campus,” Roach said. “It is a misnomer that we are the money bank.”

Roach proposed an idea that ASG could create a map that might help students understand what ASG can and cannot do.

“Envisioning a web of how you can get your idea or thoughts … by talking to this type of person,” Roach said.

Marzouca said any outreach would have to go to the general student body, and not just trickle down through club presidents.

“It is a bigger thing than reaching out to club presidents,” Marzouca said. “It is about the culture of how students perceive ASG.”

ASG Adviser and Associate Dean of Students for Wellness Education Gretchen Beck touched on two ways for students to become involved.

Allegheny will be forming a dining committee with Parkhurst Dining Services, according to Beck. The committee would discuss the menus for Brooks Dining Hall and McKinley’s Food Court.

Beck also discussed subcommittees to review the student conduct system.

“Every three years, we review the student conduct system,” Beck said. “The notice of review goes to campus life and community standards, … (then) part of our conduct system is reviewed by ASG and our faculty and has to pass by majority of both organizations.”

Beck said the subcommittees were tasked with managing judicial processes such as violations of the college’s honor code, alcohol or sexual misconduct policies.

The meeting commenced with discussion of the upcoming Blue and Gold Weekend. First Year Liaison Osbaldo Meza, ’21, and Gomez have organized a pep rally for students on Friday.