Cleveland State’s Student Government Association (SGA) announced a full senate with all director and senator positions filled as of the latest senate meeting on Friday, Oct. 27, among other updates from current SGA members and concerns from students.
Students’ campus safety concerns included homeless individuals approaching students and emergency responses.
A student recently noticed a lot of fire trucks, alarms going off or ambulances responding at different places around campus, though students usually aren’t informed on these situations. For example, students began evacuating The Edge after seeing fire trucks out front, despite not being instructed to do so.
The student who brought up this observation shared that they would like a way for students to be notified through emergency communications.
In response to this matter, President Kayland Morris mentioned an incident on Wednesday, Oct. 18 where alarms went off on campus, but it was unclear why or whether students should evacuate.
Morris plans to bring these safety concerns to the next Faculty Senate meeting.
Senator for the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Honors College Jack Whitman brought another student’s safety concern to light, involving students using the RaveGuardian app, but the center “not responding for a long period of time to messages sent within the app.”
“People text them expecting help, but they do not get back for hours,” according to Senator Whitman.
Another student, Vikas, raised a concern that computer science students in the Washkewicz College of Engineering feel excessive stress with a particular core computer science class.
“Most of them are feeling stressed about it and also major students are thinking of changing universities,” Vikas explained.
Executive Board Updates
Morris shared that SGA is organizing a clothing drive for homeless individuals in the local community. Donations will be collected in a box located in the Student Center.
Morris met with the Division of Hospitality Services (DHS) regarding the exposed pipes and insulation in the walls of The Edge, reporting that DHS is working on it.
After congratulating new members on the senate and recognizing the accomplishment of a full senate, Vice President Alysha Syed suggested that directors sit in the first row, senators in the second row and visitors on the sides for future SGA meetings.
Chief of Staff Adam Royko announced that the Senate Application Review Board (SARB) Committee is done meeting, echoing sentiments congratulating all on having a full slate of senators and directors.
Director of Marketing & Technologies Anastasia Hunt gave updates on an SGA newsletter for October that has since been published. She also announced that the Public Relations Committee is working on a possible SGA website and general email for students to give concerns and receive updates.
Director of Student Affairs Justin Samsa explained that SGA is working on partnering with various student organizations such as The Vindicator, Best Buddies, TRIO/Student Support Services, LGBTQ+ Student Services, Black Student Union, Advocates for Life and more.
“We are strictly nonpartisan,” Director Samsa began. “Though these organizations, some of them, obviously do have political leanings, when in committee meetings it will be simply about the operation of tabling events and other things that are available to all student organizations. No political ideals or anything like that will be expressed in meeting minutes. It is to stay strictly professional, and I will do so as the chair of those meetings.”
Samsa emphasized that partnering is not event-planning or taking a side, but a way of looking into concerns on operating student organizations on campus.
College of Health Senator Jayden Jackson and Director of Academic Affairs Caroline Dunn recently hosted a Student Affairs tabling event where students raised multiple concerns, including that certain STEM classes, such as physics, do not give class information at an appropriate rate.
Jackson is coordinating with College of Health Senator Claire Keehn to schedule a meeting following up on student concerns such as demeriting nursing student points for missing due to illness or leaving for an emergency, an ongoing issue they have been working on for much of this semester.
Whitman added that he would be one of the members working on the website previously mentioned by Hunt. Whitman is also working with a group on a resolution to put into SGA’s constitution that formally outlines SGA as nonpartisan.
“Even though it is widely understood by everyone that we are a nonpartisan organization, it does not actually say that in our constitution,” Whitman explained.
This is certainly questionable and can be seen as confusing, considering SGA passed a resolution condemning the Higher Education Enhancement Act, also known as Senate Bill 83 in spring 2023.
At-Large Senator Lincoln Short brought students’ concern about the homeless population inside campus. Short explained that several students have felt harassed and shared a personal experience:
“Personally, I was asked if I could use my dining dollars by a homeless man.”
In addition to the same issues at The Edge persisting—the gym, the door and the exposed insulation and piping—The Edge Senator Joseph Nappi also addressed the homeless population on campus, throughout the innerlink and in the colleges.
“I think we all understand the situation they are in, but I think it is a safety concern that they are approaching students in the University. Asking them to use their dining dollars just creates an unsafe environment,” Nappi said.
Nappi mentioned working together to address the concern, as well as working on the aforementioned nonpartisanship resolution.
Lift Up Vikes
A visiting speaker for Lift Up Vikes (LUV!), Alexia Miracle, the student manager for LUV!, has been working with the organization since she was a freshman in 2020.
Since 2016, LUV! has been a major campus resource providing food support for students on campus with the help of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. LUV! buys food from all food groups and hygiene products at little to no cost from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
LUV! distributes 4,300 pounds of food to over 300 students each week. Every student who enters can go home with at least 14 meals.
Miracle explained that LUV! is a choice pantry, where students can go and pick their food themselves.
“Our model is more grocery shopping style, so students can come in and take what they need and like, and leave what they do not want. It really gives our students a dignified experience,” Miracle shared.
Miracle encourages donors to think about what students want in their pantries. Donors often provide microwavable meals, granola bars and more.
LUV!’s goal is to make sure students are not just surviving, but “thriving.”