The evening of Wednesday, April 15 marked the final meeting of the 2014-2015 Goshen College Student Senate. Senate’s year has been filled with proposals regarding the relationship between students and the Human Resource department, gender dynamics on campus, availability of ice to students, a fourth-floor connector printer, vending machines for feminine hygiene products, the need for gender-neutral bathroom signage, and several other topics.
In Wednesday’s final meeting, which lasted just over two hours, Senate members discussed three final proposals on which the President’s Council recently provided feedback.
The first proposal relayed student body support for a co-ed dorm floor and proposed a plan for implementing such a floor in the near future. In a meeting with Senate President David Zehr on Tuesday, Goshen College President James Brenneman articulated the President’s Council’s decision to turn down the Co-ed Floor proposal. The President’s Council believes that the current developmental model of Student Life for housing is satisfactory. The 2014-2015 Student Senate regrets this decision and hopes that future senates will continue to pursue further options for co-ed living on our campus.
The second proposal asked the Goshen College President’s Council to make a statement in opposition to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a piece of legislation which has caused a great deal of controversy in Indiana recently. In the Tuesday meeting, President Brenneman, again speaking with the backing of the President’s Council, opted to not make such a public statement. The primary reason for not doing so was rooted in public relations concerns and realities regarding Goshen College’s exemptions from the national Patriot Act from being required to allow military recruiters and ROTC training on campus, based on GC’s religious exemption from the law because of its relationship to the Historic Peace Church Mennonite Church USA.
The final proposal asked the President’s Council to publicly define the words “gender” and “sex” as they are used on the GC campus. The President’s Council opted not to issue such a statement in light of public relations concerns. Student Senate contests the idea that publicity is a legitimate reason not to state the beliefs of our institution. Senate’s concern stems from the reality that Goshen College divides students based on gender and sex every day.
For more information on Senate these initiatives and many others from this year, including the full text of each proposal, visit our website at goshen.edu/senate or feel free to approach any Senate member individually.
Student Senate would like to remind all students to vote in the 2015-2016 cabinet elections which begin on Friday, April 17 and close at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 20. Senate looks forward to announcing the results of the upcoming cabinet elections at next Tuesday’s Snack Attack event, which will take place at 10 p.m. in the first floor connector.