SG Update 9/04
by Jess Sides | published Sep. 11th, 2020
In this meeting, Student Government (SG) covered COVID-19 concerns, presentations in regard to Ombuds and tackled petitions.
Nicole Boulais, associate vice president of Student Affairs, started the meeting off by addressing the tested water supply and subsequent testing of NRH students. She commented on how smoothly testing was going, and how cooperative the students were.
Around 6 a.m. there were nearly 500 students and employees that needed testing. By mid-afternoon the same day, they only had 20 students and employees remaining that needed testing.
Some students expressed concern in allowing students from NRH to circulate through campus after being tested. According to Boulais, the results of the water test only warranted a testing of students, not a quarantining. She assures that as long as students are washing their hands, staying six feet apart from others and wearing a mask, they should be at no higher of a risk than they normally are when circulating campus.
To contract the virus, Boulais referenced a statistic stating that you need at least 10 to 15 minutes of exposure. You will not contract the disease by walking past someone in the hallway or on the quarter mile.
Joe Johnston and Ashley Meyer from Ombuds gave a short presentation about what it is that Ombuds does and how it can benefit students. Ombuds deals in conflict resolution at RIT; however, they are confidential, neutral, independent of RIT and informal. They cannot share what you tell them unless you are in imminent danger, and they side with everyone equally.
Ombuds helps with issues regarding faculty, a roommate, an RA, a parent and more.
Meyer is fluent in American Sign Language, so an interpreter is not needed to meet with Ombuds. Ombuds is located in the Student Alumni Union next to the Disability Services Office (DSO) and are able to meet with you outside of normal business hours.
The first charge tackled at the meeting was regarding the increased tuition and housing costs. After working with the office of budgeting, a response was drafted but was rejected by SG.
The response laid out RIT’s perspective and how they feel their costs are fair compared to other universities such as University of Rochester. They also mentioned how cost of attendance is up 3.7 percent for the 2020-21 academic year, and that was decided before COVID-19 became a pandemic.
This was rejected by SG because they felt the reason for the petition itself was unaddressed in the response. More work will be done on this petition before a new response is drafted.
Two petitions were charged to the housing and dining committee. The first was regarding giving meal swipes back to students who did not collect all their box lunches during orientation. Second, students want to know why the market at Global Village was closed down; they would like for it to be opened again if possible.
The petition about publishing a plan for students who need to quarantine from high-risk states was originally responded to in an informal format in July 2020. SG was not in session over the summer, but the information was important enough to inform the students about. However, SG still needs to work with this petition, so it was charged to the Director of Student Relations.
The petition calling for anti-fog masks was charged to the student affairs committee.
An older petition, asking for five mental health days per semester, has produced a response. The response, however, was received with much controversy in SG and was rejected after much discussion.
The original response made no change, but instead referenced RIT policy D04.01.B. If you contact your professors ahead of time, you will receive no penalty for missing classes for personal obligations. SG wants to see if there is more they can do; they are considering teaming with the DSO or Counseling and Psychological Services, but tabled the discussion for now.
The last petition concerning exams during career fair week, produced a response as well. This academic year, the career fair is online and spans two weeks. After careful consideration, RIT decided they aren’t going to enforce no exams at this time because this will result in a large number of exams the week right before or right after.