9-4-18 Student Government

LSU Student Government office operates during normal hours in the LSU Student Union on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018.

Student Senate addressed issues affecting black students and other minority groups on campus Wednesday evening.

Legislative discussions began in a public webinar before a ‘zoom-bomber’ vocally mocked the death of George Floyd. The meeting resumed in a password-protected forum. 

The two issues on the agenda were denouncing violence against African Americans and showing student support for advancing the African and African American Studies program. The Senate voted unanimously to promote AAAS, a program which presently exists as a concentration of the liberal arts department or a minor, to full departmental status. 

Another initiative was passed for the LSU administration to publicly acknowledge Juneteenth, a national holiday celebrating the freedom of African slaves within the United States. 

Senate also released a statement addressing changes to the Student Government Election Code that will go into effect in the fall, which will allow election outreach planning assistance by Senate’s Chair of the Committee on Student Life, Diversity, and Community Outreach. 

“This means a greater outreach into Black LSU during Fall and Spring elections to bring Black leaders into Senate and Student Government as a whole,” the statement read. "Our effort to bring representation from Black LSU into Senate is only successful if these new senators feel welcomed and comfortable when they join Senate.” 

SG plans on continuing diversity training for all its members and will begin conducting semesterly campus climate surveys to monitor student inclusivity. Other activist efforts include collaborating with the Native American Student Organization to preserve the University’s historic Indian Mounds and promoting awareness for the LSU food pantry. 

Senate Speaker Justin Martin said he was proud of the student senators for remaining focused after the meeting’s disturbing beginning. 

“After it happened, I talked to other senators who were understandably shaken by the incident, but everyone still carried on and debated the important steps we can take to make our students feel safer and more comfortable,” Martin said. 

Martin noted that the feeling of vulnerability the student senators encountered was similar to the experiences minority students have on a daily basis. 

“It really represented an opportunity for us to see a small example of the kind of thing that we came together to fight against,” Martin said. 

Student Body President Stone Cox addressed the Zoom meeting attack via Twitter. 

“The LSU Student Government Senate Meeting was interrupted tonight by awful people with deplorable remarks,” Cox wrote. “Myself and Student Government stand completely against such bigotry. We will not tolerate these hateful individuals perpetuating oppression or discriminating against our Black LSU students.” 

All Student Senate meetings are traditionally open to the public, whether in-person or through Zoom. Regular meetings have concluded for the spring term but are scheduled to resume in the fall.

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