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SGA passes anti-discrimination legislation, discusses bus routes and COVID-19 updates

SGA passes anti-discrimination legislation, discusses bus routes and COVID-19 updates

SGA passes anti-discrimination legislation, discusses bus routes and COVID-19 updates
September 23
15:20 2021

The Catalani-Henderson resolution, a proposed piece of legislation that will protect student athletes from discrimination and harassment, passed unanimously during Wednesday’s Student Government Association meeting.

Last week, alumna Tatum Catalani-Henderson gave testimony to SGA senators about her experiences of inappropriate and homophobic remarks from track and field Head Coach Carl Sheffield, a matter the university ruled as ‘unsubstantiated’.

Minor changes to the legislation like amendment clauses were edited and added before it was passed by the senate.

One added clause was an agreement with Eve Shatteen Bell, the Title IX coordinator, and Dean of Students Maureen McGuiness to amend university policy 16.004 to allow Title IX complainants a right to appeal their cases. The administrators also agreed to the creation of a committee, consisting primarily of students, to investigate possible amendments to Title IX policy as allowed by the law.

Another added clause calls for the identity of an individual or company performing a Title IX audit, as well as the reasoning for the selection of said entity by the university officials, be made available to the public.

Maria Velasco, a senator of the College of Education, told the senate the clauses removed from the bill were based on Bell working on other amendments.

A removed clause concerned an independent audit be conducted in the Title IX office related to the Catalani-Henderson investigation to determine whether federal laws were violated. Another clause was removed due to the added agreement of Bell and McGuiness to allow complaints a right to appeal.

“I would just like to give a personal shout out to Senator Velasco and President Skinner for working tirelessly on this piece of legislation,” said Grant Johnson, senator of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Science.

Switching topics, SGA Vice President David Muñoz-Sarabia told the senate the Transportation Services Advisory Committee and the Denton County Transportation Authority will decide in March 2022 whether DCTA bus route seven, which provides access to Rayzor Ranch, will be removed.

“I know that a lot of our students use that route,” Muñoz-Sarabia said. “So I definitely want to make sure that the student body knows what’s going on with changes because DCTA is going to go through a lot of changes.”

DCTA is aware of the concerns of buses not running after 5:30 p.m. on campus, Muñoz-Sarabia said. The transportation authority cited staffing issues as the reason it can not accommodate students and is currently working on a solution.

Muñoz-Sarabia also said there have been concerns about vehicles getting towed due to the university making certain parking-pass holders move their vehicles on football game days. This semester, there were 100 vehicles towed on the first football game of the season and 47 in the second game.

“I’m going to be reaching out to transportation because I know a lot of people are expressing on social media the lack of clear communication on that front,” Muñoz-Sarabia said. “So, we’re gonna make sure that we’re both on the same page.”

Elizabeth With, senior vice president for Student Affairs, also provided SGA with an update on COVID-19 numbers to the senate.

On Sept. 8, With told the senate that the university’s mandatory testing program was extended due to the low numbers of on-campus COVID-19 testing and uploaded vaccination cards. She said there will be consequences if a student does not take or report the mandatory COVID-19 test.

Wednesday, With said campus officials will post the finalized number of participants of the mandatory testing program by Sept. 27. The information will be posted on the healthalerts.com website.

“I’m certain that President [Smatresk] will make some sort of announcement,” With said.

Featured Image: Senators listen to executive reports given during the SGA meeting on Sept. 22, 2021. Photo by John Anderson

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Juan Betancourt

Juan Betancourt

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