November 03 Minutes

                          I.      Call to Order Ben (9: 04)

                       II.      Roll Call/Prayer Heidi prayed

Present: Michael Spory, Benjamin Bergey, Janelle Freed, Will Morris, Sarah Beck, Amin Laboriel, Heidi Bauman, Dan Sigmans, Darian Harnish, Matt Dean, Katie Landis, Todd Hooley, Gabe Brunk, Mariah Elliot, Nels Akerson, James Souder, Hannah Wenger, Amy Springer, Ken L. Nafziger

Absent: Peyton Erb, Vi Dutcher

                     III.      Approval of Minutes

Motion 03112010-1 to approve the minutes: Gabe

Second: Janelle

Motion passed

                     IV.      Announcements

  1. a.      SGA update feedback: Ben asked for feedback from the first SGA update e-mail sent out.  Senators shared that it was informative; it’s nice to let students know what we have been doing.  We will plan on sending an e-mail like this every month.

                       V.      Committee Reporting

  1. a.      Safety—Michael: Michael shared that one thing the committee asked was student perception of safety on campus: what they think of security guards, safety policies, crime reporting, etc.  Eldon Kurtz reported that compared to other colleges, EMU has low incidences of sexual assault, drugs, and theft.  Go EMU safety!  They also talked about automatic defibrillators and the new emergency radio that they’re setting up.
  2. b.      IRB: Hannah shared that the IRB discussed one of the problems they have with the forms; currently, students and faculty are asked if they think they’re exempt from IRB review and the committee is realizing that many students don’t know what this means.  They are considering putting a flow chart on the IRB website for students and faculty to see which category they fall under.  They are also trying to develop a form for professors to group the whole class into one form on research projects that will simply be used within the classroom context. 

                     VI.      Old Business

                  VII.      New Business

  1. a.      Evaluations—Spencer Cowles: Spencer Cowles and Steve Johnson came in to represent the Faculty Senate.  One of their sub-committees has designed a new course evaluation to be done online rather than in class; they are bringing it to the SGA to get any feedback on bits we think should be changed.  The Faculty Senate had two major things in mind in this process: asking appropriate questions to match new criteria that apply to faculty when they come up for review and to ask questions that will get feedback on how courses could be improved.  They did a test with the open-ended question section and, based on that test-run, have decided to put the open-ended questions at the beginning of the evaluation since students are more likely to fill them out if they show up first.  Student feedback from the initial test-run was mostly positive; students appreciate having it online because it is easier and having a number of days to complete it.  A question brought up response rates and Steve shared that the test-run showed a 78% response rate, which is not bad.  The specific professor has the opportunity to set when the evaluation starts and will e-mail the link to the student.  One senator brought up recommending to faculty sending out evaluations in enough time to be done before finals week.  Overall, we feel that this method is easier and will give faculty better data on student responses to their courses.
  2. b.      MRI statement: Mark Fenton, Jessica Sarriott, and Larisa Zehr came in to bring an MRI statement before the SGA for approval.  The statement asks EMU to officially support a policy of selective divestment from companies that actively enable and support the occupation of Palestine.  MRI has been circulating petitions online and among the student body to gather student support of their purposes; they have at least 385 signatures from EMU students (67 of which have graduated since the petition originally circulated), as well as roughly 100 online signatures and 35 faculty signatures.  MRI is going to be doing a presentation for the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees and would like to bring all the signatures and the statement backed by SGA to the Board at their next meeting.  EMU is currently invested in very few companies that have interests in the occupation; MRI ultimately wants to make a broader statement in the Mennonite community to support selective divestment.  MMA (Everence) already has been checking into positive investments.  This is not only a support of positive investments, but makes a strong political and faith-based statement that we do not support the occupation.  Once the MRI representatives left, senators discussed the policy.  Many senators agreed that this is a good way for SGA to support a great cause that almost half of the undergraduates of EMU have supported via petition.  We feel like this is something very important and something SGA should back.  Senators were impacted by the representatives’ statement that this is NOT a cultural boycott, but a way to support peace and not support a violent occupation.  One senator brought up that this point would be a good addition to the statement so EMU is very clear on this issue.  As a side note, should anyone from MRI read these minutes, we are very proud of the work done with this initiative; it’s clear a lot of hard work has gone into this and it is commendable! 

Motion 03112010-2 to approve the MRI statement asking EMU to support a policy of selective divestment: James

Second: Nels

Motion passed 13-0-2

  1. c.       Email quantities (sports): Ben shared that there has been student feedback on the enormous amount of e-mails students receive from the Sports Information Director; many students have complained about this and some have even blocked those e-mails due to annoyance.  Darian shared that this was discussed in the last IS meeting; it may be a good idea to propose some sort of guidelines with “all-student” e-mails would be beneficial.  He feels like it might be beneficial for IS to have a statement from SGA addressing student feedback on this issue.  They are already working on ideas to help reduce the amount of e-mails sent.  In general, we feel the all-student e-mails can be very beneficial; however, it becomes overbearing when organizations send a large number in a short amount of time (LSA, sports, etc.)  Darian agreed to draft a statement to give to IS from the SGA.

                VIII.      Open Floor

-Ken shared that an author, Stephen Kiernan, is coming to speak at EMU on November 10 to discuss a book he wrote.  The book is called Authentic Patriotism; he has waived his normal $5000 fee to come to EMU and an outside sponsor is paying his other expenses.  Our co-sponsorship would make it so Third Way Cafe, who is helping to bring Kiernan here, would not have to pay the rental fee of the Science Center space.  Most senators felt this would interest some students on campus and is in line with the Student Lecture Series.

Motion 03112010-3 to affirm that SGA will sponsor Stephen Kiernan to come to EMU: Janelle

Second: Nels

Motion passed 14-0-1

-Amin shared that the Birthday Party committee would love to have more senators help out with the planning of the parties each month.

                     IX.      Adjournment

Motion 03112010-4 to adjourn: Hannah

Second: Janelle

Motion passed

Meeting adjourned (10:31)

smb 11/03/10