The Student Government Association Senate voted Wednesday night to create a new Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board.
The senate passed a bill to amend Title II of the SGA bylaws to include an advisory board consisting of a multicultural affairs committee chairman, vice-chairman and any committee members or other senators who wish to participate, as well as students from any minority or underrepresented student organizations. The board will meet once a month and will create a report each semester of diversity-related issues that Oklahoma State University can improve upon, as well as instances where the university has succeeded in promoting inclusiveness.
The board’s function is to “hear the concerns, issues, and ideas from these groups in order to bridge an informational gap between the Student Government Association and these groups, as well as foster an environment and outlet for the students to relay their concerns, issues, and ideas back to the Student Government Association so that we can help in the best way possible,” according to the bill.
The bill’s co-author, Sen. Erica Stephens, was elected SGA president March 8. Stephens and her vice presidential running mate, Brayden Farrell, campaigned to unite the campus through community, academics and leadership. Creating a Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board was a community point in Stephens and Farrell’s campaign. Their term as SGA president and vice president will begin this fall.
“This bill is working towards bridging the gap between underrepresented minority groups on campus and SGA,” Stephens said.
The senate also passed a bill to amend Title I of the SGA bylaws, requiring committee chairmen and vice-chairmen of all standing committees to forward legislation and meeting minutes to the SGA vice-chairman and secretary by noon Friday the week the committee meeting is held.
Sen. Briar Lostlen, the bill’s author, said this deadline will allow SGA to receive information in a more timely manner and help senators effectively reach out to their constituencies.
The senate approved two co-sponsorship requests, allocating $321.75 to reimburse members of Voto Latino for travel expenses to a leadership conference the group attended in Los Angeles and $300 to the Sri Lankan Student Association for their performance at Cultural Night on March 31.
The budget committee will hear two more co-sponsorship requests from student organizations next week. However, the senate has already allocated all of the $16,000 SGA’s budget provides for co-sponsorship funds each semester, as well as $2,400 of unused funds from the fall semester.
Budget Chairwoman Taylor Winston was absent from the meeting. Committee Vice-Chairman Austin Bui explained the Budget Committee hopes to receive about $600 from the Multicultural Affairs Council to fund more co-sponsorship requests.
The senate granted registered status to Coffee Club, a new student organization for coffee appreciation.
SGA President Dillon Johnson announced he is working with Edmon Low Library officials to promote open educational resources, including open textbooks for general education courses.
“This is something I’ve had interest in recently,” Johnson said. “People at the library are interested in making this happen too, so hopefully a pilot program will be happening next year.”
Johnson encouraged senators to contact him if they want to be involved in his meetings at the library because he will graduate before the program becomes a reality.
“This really is a great cause, so I don’t just want to see it die when I graduate,” Johnson said.