Campus News

SGA transitions to remote format

SGA responds to COVID-19; begins to plan for the fall with virtual meetings

While Xavier’s Student Government Association (SGA) has not met since campus shut down, President Thomas Wehby assured that business will continue in the coming weeks as important business is conducted.

“We are currently working with our advisers in order to create a system that would ensure that SGA will be able to function in an effective manner,” Wehby said. “(This will) most likely result in online video meetings
every Monday.”

The SGA executives and advisers plan to set up the online meetings in such a way that they will still be open to the public. Meanwhile, in the immediate wake of the coronavirus, the executives have taken on several initiatives in the interest of students.

“We have been working with the university… on projects that aim to help students in this time of need,” Wehby said. “One thing that we are pushing for is a switch to a pass/fail system of grading, as well as working with
organizations that would be willing to provide housing for those students still in Cincinnati that are in need of it,” he said.

The Senate also intends to start a conversation with university officials about financial returns to students. Despite these efforts, some students expressed concerns about SGA’s response to COVID-19.

“I haven’t gotten any contact from SGA since the fallout from the coronavirus,” sophomore economics major
Mitchell Nee said. “I expect SGA to be preparing for next semester and continue working for the students despite this epidemic.”

Individual senators have also expressed that their committee work and individual projects will likely be set aside while the university is shut down. “While there is still potential that Academic Affairs could continue to work on our committee projects, I feel that it will be significantly more difficult to coordinate meetings with the various staff that we need to be involved in our initiatives,” Senator Fernando Arguello said.

“On a personal note — I think that the same problem will apply. I believe it’s likely that many projects will need to be suspended until next semester to ensure that everything is done right.”

In some instances, campus shutting down has halted an SGA committee’s progress completely, including Student Organizations Committee (SOC), which had just begun the budgeting process for clubs. According to Senator Ryan Dhaliwal, SOC was only able to meet with a handful of clubs to discuss their budget for next year.

“With our committee being off campus, our adviser Dustin will be making the budget allocations and we all are extremely confident in his decisions,” he said. Similar to Arguello, Dhaliwal expressed frustration with the suddenly halted progress of his individual senatorial project.

“As a senator and minority on campus, I was hoping to possibly start my own club or invest more in organizations that promote and encourage on-campus diversity,” Dhaliwal said. “I will continue to pursue different avenues to incorporate inclusion and different perspectives at Xavier, but
not being on campus has definitely taken away valuable face-to-face meetings,” he continued.

Wehby acknowledged that while the physical barrier may provide challenges for SGA, it is something necessary for the safety of the students.
He offered reassurance that despite these challenges, SGA will continue to do its best to serve the students and prepare the university for the semesters to come.

Wheby also assured that projects like the Feminine Care Product initiative, which was approved earlier in
the semester, remain on track to be completed once students return to campus.

“After this national crisis has settled, we as a community will need to be able to come back home to a university ready to continue where we left off,” Wehby said. “This is why I cannot stress the importance of making sure that all students are staying focused and safe
during this time of crisis,” Wehby continued. “We as an SGA Board will be doing our best to make sure that Xavier University is ready for when our family returns.”

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