Student Council discusses BSA's recommendations, finals week

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Student Council heard a presentation from Bryanna Miller on the BSA proposal. 

Porter Dickie | Cavalier Daily

Student Council held its last meeting of the year Tuesday to address announcements from committee chairs, student concerns and Black Student Alliance’s report on the institution of more inclusiveness throughout the University.

First-year College student Bryanna Miller, a leadership development chairs for BSA, gave a presentation on the BSA’s Proposal “Towards A Better University.”

BSA’s recommendations fall into categories of culture of truth, elimination of abuses, the proper allocation of resources and increasing black presence.

Miller called on Council to work towards engaging the student body in conversations regarding race and inclusivity.

“We’d like to see more discussions about race occurring across grounds and we’d like to see StudCo taking a leadership role in facilitating these discussions,” Miller said. “It is very important that you guys use your position to affect change.”

Miller also discussed the abolition of the law enforcement mandate of ABC, requiring implicit biases and discrimination training for police officers, giving more financial support to black CIOS, increasing the number of black students, faculty and staff and renovating the Cultural Center of the Office of African American Affairs — a historical site.

Student Council President Abe Axler, a second-year College student, said the report neglected to mention the student-led initiative to establish a multicultural center on Grounds, which students presented for the first time last semester with the goal of strengthening the community of diverse cultures and providing a supportive space.

“There was no discussion on the Multicultural Center Initiative,” Axler said. “It makes sense to put more resources into this center, since it will be active for every multicultural group.”

Miller agreed the prospective center should be a part of revisions to the report.

“I would support the multicultural center, but with the caveat that there should be spaces specifically for black students to use,” Miller said.

This spurred the question of whether each minority group on Grounds should be provided with a specific space at the Center if ideally the black students were to have one.

Student Council also discussed residence life issues.

Axler said multiple parties have highlighted specific problems with residence life, such as gender-neutral accommodations, among other things.

“[The Dean of Residence LIfe and Housing] will be meeting with a group of people on Friday in order to have a conversation and the agenda will be gender-neutral housing, RA room confusion and dorm quality,” Axler said.

Third-year Batten student Jahvonta Mason announced the Diversity Initiatives Committee established its primary initiative for the fall semester, which will be to hold discussions with every CIO on Grounds which actively identifies itself as multicultural to assist them with their initiatives and to maintain a strong relationship between these groups and Council.

“We are looking to potentially change the mission statement of the Committee in order to establish what diversity actually means for students and the University due to the fact that I have a hard time figuring out what it means for myself,” Mason said.

Mason also said various students have inquired whether Council will provide coffee during the week of finals.

A majority of the Council expressed concerns over whether the idea was tangible under certain financial and time constraints. Moreover, Axler said there are alternatives to how the University and community provides caffeine during the week.

Additionally, the Council’s executive board announced that the organization will be discussing 30 CIOs that will be improved through a CIO bill in the future.

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