Senate to debate resolution supporting Missouri students second week in a row

The Students’ Association will vote on a resolution in support of efforts to combat racism at the University of Missouri at tonight’s meeting.

Resolution 15-11-R, “In Solidarity with the University of Missouri football team, Jonathan Butler, and students of color,” was postponed after last week’s debate.

Senator Semehar Ghebrekidan, the main sponsor of the resolution, has asked students to sign a petition in support of passing the resolution at Monday’s meeting.

The petition has gained more than 100 signatures in just over a day and has allowed students, faculty and administrators to comment and voice their concerns to the Senate.

Another way students were able to discuss SDSU’s support for students of color, diversity and inclusion and other similar topics was at the Diversity Dialogue held last Friday. Ghebrekidan helped plan the dialogue and took an active role in leading the discussion.

Ghebrekidan was the only senator present at the dialogue. She said she was disappointed that she was the sole SA representative when it was a chance for the senators to participate and ask questions they had about the issue from the last meeting.

“We [the senators who would have attended the dialogue] could have had a dialogue and discuss and understand why it is important to stand with students of color,” Ghebrekidan said.

On the Monday before Thanksgiving there was a forum hosted by the Black Student Alliance discussing diversity and inclusion on the SDSU campus in light of the University of Missouri events. Seven senators of the 32 attended the event.

The next Monday, Ghebrekidan’s resolution was debated on by the Senate and postponed to this week’s meeting.

After her resolution was postponed, Ghebrekidan left the room and started to cry.

“I felt like someone shot me right in the heart,” Ghebrekidan said.

She said that by postponing the resolution, the senators weren’t listening to her and saying she and her perspective don’t matter. She said they chose to postpone the resolution to gain a better understanding of the issue, but felt irritated when none of the senators attended the Diversity Dialogue, which would have given them the opportunity to gain an understanding.

Two amendments were made to the resolution at the Nov. 30 meeting before it was postponed.

The first was to change the Be It Resolved clause on the resolution to say that SA supports and stands in solidarity “with all students of color” rather than the original “with the football players at the University of Missouri, Jonathan Butler and all students of color.”

The second amendment was to create a second Be It Resolved clause stating that SA supports the university’s continued efforts “to promote diversity and inclusiveness and work to better our campus climate.”

The amendments were made to be more SDSU-oriented and to not take a political stance on a national issue, said Finance Chair Nick Reagan at the Nov. 30 meeting.

“Senate has had a tradition of not taking stances on political issues that do not have stake at SDSU,” Regan said.

Regan believes if the phrasing is changed, it has a good chance at passing at tonight’s meeting. As long as it’s not directly tied with Jonathan Butler and Mizzou, he added.

Some senators were worried the amendments would skew the original meaning for the resolution, which was to support not only the students of color but also the football team and Jonathan Butler at the University of Missouri in their protests about institutionalized racism and a lack of action from the administration of Mizzou.

“Students complained in the right manner [at the University of Missouri] and were not heard, and at the end of the day that’s what we’re talking about is the response of administration and people who have a voice on campus,” Ghebrekidan said.

She said that by passing the resolution it will show students of color that SA supports them and “if it should ever get to that level here, that we know that someone has our back … that they actually care” and that the Senate would respond correctly and not ignore the students’ concerns.

Tonight’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark room in The Union. The resolution is the only matter of unfinished business on the agenda.

Also on the Senate’s to-do list tonight is two constitution approvals. One is for the Jack’s Jiu Jitsu club and the other for a Pokemon club.

Follow @Collegian_live on Twitter for live updates at tonight’s meeting.