The Goshen College Student Senate is pushing for change and unity. 

The Senate is made up of Gabe Martinez, president; Javier Reyes, vice president; Jaelyn Amhdar, vice president of marketing; and Richard Figueroa Jr., treasurer. Gilberto Pérez Jr. and Spencer Castillo serve as faculty advisers. 

Additionally, at their last meeting, the Senate voted to accept two new applicants: Carmen Merino as an at-large member, and Ashgaan Al-Bahal, who will serve as the liaison for student organizations.

One big focus so far for the Senate has been GC’s website —  specifically, the student directory. While on campus and logged in, GC students and employees can access personal information of GC students via the directory, known colloquially as “StalkerNet.” Students have the option to opt out, though they might not be aware that they can.

In a survey administered by the Senate, which at the time of the meeting had 131 responses, 90 respondents said they didn’t know opting out of sharing information was possible; 41 said they did. 

Martinez said, “Our main goal is education, and making it aware to students that they can opt out.”

GC students can access their privacy preferences on the GC website, though at the moment, students do not have the option to remove housing information from the website. The reason for this is unclear, but appears to be a problem with the website itself. Students still have options to remove their photo, email and phone number from the directory and people search. Faculty have all those options plus housing information. 

The Senate survey asked if students were comfortable with the amount of information listed on the directory. 61 respondents said they were not comfortable, while 57 said they were. Furthermore, 80% of commuters who responded to the survey said they were not comfortable with the amount of available information, while only 58% of residential students and 30% of employees said they were uncomfortable. 

The information is handled by the registrar, who sends out FERPA information via email to all students every year, and talks about privacy during freshman orientation. However, Kristin Waltner, the interim registrar, admitted that the data showed a need for more education. 

In a broader sense, Martinez mentioned several times that the goal of the Student Senate is to unify campus. This manifests itself in several ways, and one is unifying students and administration. In a discussion with HR about hiring practices, the Senate pushed for transparency from administration about the changes they make, hoping that it will bring students and administrators a little closer. 

“I think we’re on the right trajectory for that,” Martinez said. “There’s always more that can be done.”

Another way is through campus clubs. The Senate last week voted to move their meeting time so that leaders from the Black Student Union and Latino Student Union could join them at their meetings. 

Martinez said, “We really want reps of clubs and groups on campus to be here; they have the right to be here.”