Newly elected SGA senators aim to curtail tuition increases and increase campus diversity
Some of the new Student Affairs Senators in the university’s Student Government Association (SGA) have just been elected for the first time. However, what they may lack in prior experience, they intend to compensate with bold plans for the fall semester.
Student Affairs Senator Raymond Smith, a sophomore political science and public policy major, joined the cross country running team and the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity during the last semester, but he decided to run for office this semester in order to become more involved with the school.
As a member of SGA, Smith plans to introduce policy proposals such as making emergency health equipment available for every floor in residence halls and adding smoothie stations in the Carpenter Sports Center Building, or the “Little Bob.” Smith also plans to introduce a proposal intended to set limits on annual increases of tuition by the university administration.
“Ideally, I’d like to set a maximum amount that tuition can be raised on a year to year basis for new students,” Smith said. “But I understand that’ll be a little more difficult to achieve. I know the administration will be opposed to this, but it’s outrageous that they can raise tuition so much and do that to people.”
Smith believes that the administration should only be allowed to raise tuition by less than $1,000, but he is unsure of whether or not this figure would be adjusted for inflation. Although SGA would not have the authority to affect the university’s tuition, Smith hopes that he would be able to initiate a conversation about the fairness of tuition costs.
“Assanis justifies these costs because he says we need them now to meet the rising costs of the university and whatnot, but a lot of students won’t see those new resources for several years,” Smith said. “It’ll be difficult to convince [the administration], but I think I can bring people’s attention to this issue, because it really is ridiculous.”
Student Affairs Senator Stephanie Boateng, a first-year marketing and art major, plans to propose policies which would assist the university’s Art Department.
“If you go to the art buildings on campus, some of them are pretty worn down and old,” Boateng said. “That’s nice if you’re looking for some artistic inspiration, but obviously that’s a huge problem for the department. I’d like to bring more attention to the arts and allow students to take a broader range of art classes.”
Boateng and Elaine Ansah, a freshman political science and public health major, ran on a platform of establishing a more inclusive and diverse environment on campus. Boateng worries that people on campus have segregated themselves into bubbles wherein they only interact with people who are culturally or ethnically similar.
To combat this issue, Boateng and Ansah plan to develop an intergroup field day in which members of cultural Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), sororities and fraternities would be given a day to come out and meet with one another in a festival-like atmosphere.
Boateng and Ansah have also considered the creation of what they call a “Cultural Confidence Training Program” designed to diminish students’ alleged ignorance of other cultures. This would be a mandatory online program, similar to the alcohol and sexual assault educational modules taken by incoming students.
Smith, Ansah and Boateng were all eager to work with Kevin Peterson, a senior chemical engineering and economics major, who was recently elected as Student Body President.
“He immediately strikes you with what great ideas he has,” Ansah said, echoing similar sentiments voiced by Smith and Boateng. “I think he’ll have a lot of experience to share with us next year.”
Student Affairs Senator Mia Carbone, a freshman majoring in public policy, plans to propose the addition of late night dining hours in Russell Dining Hall in the fall. To accomplish this, Carbone is working with Shane Dorsey, a junior political science and public policy major who unsuccessfully ran for the position of Student Body President this year, and Robin Moore, the Director of Operations at Dining Services on campus.
“I hope and believe that this has a good chance of happening and late night dining being put into effect, as everyone has seemed optimistic about it and based on our meetings,” Carbone said. “I’m also super excited to see the new cabinet in action, because they are all really passionate about SGA and doing good things for UD. I think with this drive they’ll be able to do make really cool and awesome change on campus.”