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Opinion: Student Government Involvement

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

An overhead view of Johnson Hall
Photo courtesy of Meredith College

In the last academic year there has been a considerable amount of tangible testimony of student experiences on campus. In my own research about anti-racism efforts on campus, I wrote a series of articles about the steps Meredith took in response to the community’s words. After I educated myself more on Meredith’s response, I knew I wanted to contribute so I joined the Student Government Association’s (SGA) executive board. As the upcoming school year approaches, SGA will be moving forward with their initiative to make campus life more equitable.

In response to campus concerns, the Honor Council Review Task Force was created. Their first step was to conduct a review of their constitution and draft a proposal regarding the current policies related to harassment violations. Currently, the verbiage states that harassment is “[c]onduct resulting in physical harm, harassment and/or discrimination of another. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, acts of intolerance and/or malice directed at individuals or groups and delivered in oral, written, or electronic form…” With the new proposed notation of harassment, it should now include “hostile acts towards another.” This includes but is not limited to personal harassment, discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, acts of intolerance, threatening behavior and physical harm. Something to note about the proposal is that it does exclude the usage of bias if it is not dangerous, alluding to the free will each student has to their own perspectives. This is just some of the beginning work that needs to be done to our Honor System for student-to-student interactions. The Honor Council Review Task Force's changes, which were proposed in collaboration with the SGA Executive Board, will take effect in the 2021-22 school year. As far as what students can report, they can expect a more visible system from the College soon with additional campus climate responses. At this time, the Office of Student Leadership and Service (SLS) does have a reporting form for students participating in events or traditions hosted by SLS.

Another initiative that was created in the last school year was the declaration of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) position on the SGA Executive Board. What powers and responsibilities the individual or possible collective would have are still being discussed. However, a key thing that we as a campus should advocate for whoever takes on this role is to not tokenize them. Therefore, it is the responsibility of fellow students and SGA officers to hold each other accountable to ensure that the DEI position aids in the advancement of campus equity.

Correction: The original version of this story stated that the Honor Council Review Task Force's changes had not yet been approved. The updated 2021-22 Student Handbook on Meredith College's website will reflect these changes.

By Jeanine Carryl, Staff Writer



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