Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On April 9th, the Student Government Organization (SGO) met in Science Center 104 for a full general meeting. The meeting lasted approximately an hour, from 7:30PM to 8:30PM.
Discussed at the meeting were the newly-formulated policy on Credit/No Credit and two separate amendments proposed by SGO co-president Ben Roebuck ‘18 and Chair of Student Organization Cole Graham ‘17. Also briefly touched on were SGO goals for the rest of the year and the upcoming executive board elections.
At-Large Senator and Academic Affairs Committee member Christian Galo ‘20 introduced the first item on the agenda. He announced that the Academic Affairs Committee had drafted an official SGO statement recommending that the deadline to declare CR/NC be changed from 9 weeks after the beginning of the semester to 2 weeks after the end of the semester. The recommendation was based on the results of a survey sent out to the student body in mid-February. A resolution to release the statement passed unanimously.
SGO then moved to discuss the two proposed amendments to the constitution.
Roebuck proposed that the SGO pass an amendment adding a ‘Chair of Mental Health and Wellness’ position to the Executive Board, and a corresponding ‘Mental Health and Wellness Committee’ to the Senate. If passed, the amendment would increase the number of SGO executive members from 11 to 12 members.
According to Roebuck, creating this executive board position would make sure that SGO pays equal attention to the stigmatized issue of mental health.
“[The issue of mental wellness] should be brought up to the same level [as] academic affairs and environmental impact,” Roebuck said.
However, several SGO members were concerned about creating this position.
“What would be the difference between [a mental health and wellness committee] and Speak2Swatties [the college’s peer counselling group]?” Chair of Diversity Christopher Chan ‘17 asked.
“What would the chair be doing on a day-to-day basis?” Chair of Environmental Impact Tiffany Yu ‘18 added.
In the end, it was decided that the amendment and the position needed more clarification, and that the discussion should be tabled until a description has been decided.
The second amendment of the evening, brought forth by Graham, proposed to make changes to the student group chartering process. Currently, a group wishing to be recognized and funded by the Student Budgeting Committee (SBC) must submit a statement of interest in September, and wait for a charter review in March. Graham’s amendment changes this rule so that groups can submit a charter for review two months after the statement of interest.
“Some groups were meeting last Spring pretty regularly, and came into the semester organized and ready to go, and so it’s weird for them to wait until March to get chartered,” Graham explained.
The amendment passed the Senate with 8 votes in favor.