SGA Talks Campus Climate Team, Disciplinary Memo

KIP LYNCH ’22
STAFF WRITER

On Sunday, Oct. 14, the Student Government Association (SGA) heard updates from each of its subcommittees, in addition to hearing a request for approval by Doctors Without Borders and meeting with Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs Joe DiChristina in regard to his Oct. 10 memorandum outlining administrative actions concerning student behavior and disciplinary consequences.

Each subcommittee provided updates on priorities, initiatives, as well as ideas for improvement in each of their respective areas. The Food Committee outlined its goal of providing better advertisement on the quality of food provided by the dining halls. The Sustainability Committee, while it has yet to hold its first meeting, emphasized its prioritization on celebrating October, which is Campus Sustainability Month. The Curriculum Committee, following a discussion regarding which materials may be confidential or shared, revealed their intention to distribute the Committee’s Annual Report to the SGA in the near-future, and the Academic Affairs Committee described their discussions on extending the add/drop and the large number of requests filed after the end of each period.

The Student Government Association heard a request for approval and recognition of Doctors Without Borders. In addition to generating interest for students on a pre-med track, Doctors Without Borders described its goals of improving healthy practices in the Hartford community through presentations about domestic abuse and the process of pediatric checkups in local community centers. If approved, it will be the first chapter of Doctors Without Borders in the state of Connecticut. The SGA will vote on its approval this week.

The SGA also met with DiChristina, Associate Dean of Students Robert Lukaskiewicz, Associate Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator Venice Ross, and Director ofCampus Safety Brian Heavren to provide feedback to the Campus Climate Incident Response Team as well as reflect on the standard for memorandums that outline disciplinary information, particularly the one sent to students on Oct. 10. The SGA expressed concerns that students do not face serious consequences for their actions, with DiChristina adding that the Campus Climate Team is a way for students to help in reactively as well as proactively responding to incidents of harassment and discriminatory behavior. With the deadline for submissions extended until later this week, DiChristina urged students to apply themselves or nominate another student. The SGA also voiced concerns in regard to the language used in the Student Handbook, from the lack of the use of the term “hate crime” to the absence of specific consequences for certain acts of misconduct. DiChristina responded to these language concerns by explaining how the use of broad discriminatory definitions instead of specific definitions, which are often outlined at the Federal level, gives Trinity more lee-way in responding to and punishing acts of misconduct. The discussion also included the specificity of memorandums outlining student punishments, which resulted in concerns of student confidentiality versus transparency between the student body and Trinity’s administration.

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