PawPrints Conduct

Student Government (SG) got right down to business on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 addressing a policy concern that presented itself on the student petition forum, PawPrints. PawPrints is a petition site that allows students to voice their concerns, requests and thoughts directly to SG representatives.

While SG does not usually regulate the student petition platform, many students voiced concerns that some users were in violation of the code of conduct. The complaint led to an SG review of a petition that they found did not meet petition site criteria.

The petition in question was responding to another petition regarding a request to bring a Chick-Fil-A restaurant to campus, due to their public and controversial stances on social issues. The thread of concern countered criticism by labeling students who did not want a Chick-Fil-A restaurant on campus as “snowflakes” and defended the self-described Christian values of the organization.

SG found this particular petition thread was in violation of a PawPrints policy that prevents threads that do not have a well-defined student request. According to SG, the thread presented itself as more of a comment to another petition, rather than a petition with an intended goal.

SG drafted a response to the student who generated the controversial petition thread and voted to delete the thread from the PawPrints website. The response from SG to the student explained why their post had been deleted and highlighted that it had violated the policy restricting threads that do not serve a particular purpose. The original thread that advocated for a Chick-Fil-A restaurant on campus and the subsequent criticizing thread that followed were allowed to remain on PawPrints.

Global Consortium 2019

After voting on the PawPrints issue, SG shifted to a less serious presentation from the SG President. The presentation highlighted a trip she participated in, along with fellow members of SG, to the RIT campus in Zagreb, Croatia. The presentation included a short video featuring SG members from RIT’s main campus in Rochester, NY as well as SG members from other RIT campuses.

The purpose of the annual trip is to connect with other members of SG that represent RIT’s international campuses. This year’s meeting focused on increasing the availability of events that include the international campuses, as well as sharing the experiences of RIT students in other parts of the world.

Reports and Adjournment

Post presentation, SG focused on taking reports from its members.

Amid the numerous reports from SG members was one that stated SG’s intent on creating a new committee. The purported committee would specifically focus on issues relating to the mental health of RIT students. A timeline on the committee’s creation was unavailable, but it was clear that the mental health of students at RIT continues to be an ongoing issue that SG is required to confront.

Aside from news of a new committee, another report highlighted how RIT’s University Council is seeking to reduce RIT’s average graduation timeframe of 6 years. The University Council is a combination of representatives from SG, the RIT Academic Senate and the RIT Staff Council. One standout reason the council is trying to reduce the average timeframe for graduation is to increase RIT’s national ranking.

Other reports consisted of SG’s intent on creating a dog park at RIT’s main campus and a bus route that will be able to take students to neighboring Rochester cities such as Syracuse or Buffalo. While no charges have been created for these ideas yet, SG plans on introducing official plans for these projects soon.

Prior to adjourning for the evening, it was additionally reported that SG plans on voting for a new NTID senator. SG is currently operating without an NTID Senator on the SG Cabinet.