Student Government members fast-tracked and approved an assembly resolution Tuesday night supporting the establishment of a Faculty Council task force to look into best practices for handling difficult dialogues in classrooms.
“The ultimate purpose is to gather best practice on trauma-informed pedagogy and how to teach about these sensitive content materials, because they are present in most classrooms,” said Ian McEntee, assembly resolution co-author and Liberal Arts Council policy coordinator. “(The task force would) allow … professors and teaching assistants to have the best practice to have conversations about this material (so) that it’s not damaging or damning to a student’s mental health.”
A previous resolution by the Liberal Arts Council, which recommended adding sensitive content disclosures to syllabi, served as the inspiration for the assembly resolution. The previous resolution, also co-authored by McEntee, was taken to Faculty Council in December and met with concern about the loss of academic freedom. At the end of January, humanities and sociology senior McEntee received word that the entire Faculty Council would not hear the resolution.
“(Faculty Council and I) reached a consensus of kind of having to reevaluate where our goals were and if this was the best methodology to move forward,” McEntee said. “Thus, this resolution was born. What this resolution seeks to do is to establish a task force through Faculty Council to gather best practices about discussing sensitive content in regards to any type of trauma pedagogy in classrooms.”
Faculty Council’s Educational Policy Committee would oversee the task force, and it was Faculty Council that wanted Student Government to hear this new resolution.
“Their end goal for bringing this back to Student Government is to have acknowledgment of the work that was done and the work that needs to continue to be done so that we can then bring it to Faculty Council with the endorsement of Student Government,” McEntee said. “Once legislation is endorsed by Student Government, it has to be heard by Faculty Council.”
Additionally, Student Government members discussed an assembly bill permanently establishing the Gender Inclusivity Coalition within the organization’s Code of Rules and Procedures. The Coalition has been meeting with various LGBTQ groups on campus since October “to discuss queer issues and policies across campus and how we can advocate for change,” assembly bill co-author Ben Solder said.
“(This assembly bill) allows us to solidify the committee permanently into SG’s governing documents underneath the jurisdiction of QTSA (Queer and Trans Student Alliance), so the committee would be co-chaired with the director of the alliance and someone from (the Queer and Trans People of Color Agency), as well,” neuroscience senior Solder said.
The assembly bill was referred to the Rules and Regulations Committee.
“We’re not asking for you to support the organization itself but just the … structure of it, so making sure that we can keep it going every year, because we have seniors here who are graduating and leaving us, but we hope to continue having chairs and co-chairs and just continue the structure of the (organization) so that it remains sustainable,” said Tasnim Islam, assembly bill co-author and College of Liberal Arts representative.