Student Government moves forward with various initiatives
By Daria Sokolova
Walk Wabash, faculty pay raises, the Student Savings Plain, SGA Week and the Sexual Respect/Title IX committee were some of the key topics discussed during Oct. 23’s SGA meeting in Spertus Lounge.
Co-chairs for the Wellbeing Council, Maxine Garcia and Clara Gong, started the meeting by announcing recruitment goals for Walk Wabash, an event that will occur from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Wabash Building lobby.
Inspired by the success of the inaugural stair-climb event, this year’s Walk Wabash encourages its participants to reach the 31st floor of the Wabash Building.
“Walk Wabash is essentially a stair-climb event,” Garcia said. “We go from the lobby all the way to the 31st [floor]. Last time we went up to 15th [floor]. This [event] is going to require a little bit more coverage, especially as it pertains to the Residence Life portion—from the 16th [floor] onwards. We are working with Residence Life to make sure we have enough coverage on those floors for security purposes and also to continue to encourage those who are participating going all the way to the top.”
Walk Wabash features courses for all levels of climbers that include a beginners course (floors 1-5), intermediate course (floors 1-14), and advanced/pro course (floors 1-31).
“Climbers can go up to five, they can go up 14, or they can go up to the top,” Gong added.
As Garcia said, those who want to volunteer should contact the Office of Wellbeing.
“SGA feels that it’s members need to be involved on campus, and this is a good way for us to help out with a campus event,” said SGA President Joseph Knotts.
Faculty pay raises
Following the recruitment session, Student Trustee Chris Mich stated that the university’s administration is considering giving pay raises to the faculty and the staff.
In a statement dated Oct. 21, university President Charles Middleton said the total enrollment for the fall semester exceeded the initial goal, bringing a tuition surplus of more than $1.5 million for the fall semester.
“Although the budget is still not fully balanced due to funding depreciation of equipment and facilities, we have made a huge step forward toward achieving our financial goals,” Middleton said. “Therefore, as I have consistently stated, my first and most immediate priority is to fund merit-based increases in compensation for faculty and staff and, in particular, to reward all those individuals whose dedicated work contributed to our success this fall.”
Middleton said he was also preparing a position paper that would allow the Board of Trustees to outline a plan for these increases at the December meeting. Middleton said he sees it “as a first step in a process with more to come,” as the university hopes to see further growth in enrollment and to “generate increases in other revenue streams.”
After some members of the student senate expressed concerns about a potential tuition fee hike that could be caused by increased faculty salaries, SGA Advisor Bridget Collier said a staff and faculty pay raise is unlikely to affect the university’s cost of attendance.
“We are over our enrollment goal at the institution, which is the direct result of the efforts of faculty and staff,” Collier explained. “[The increases] aren’t necessarily pay raises … When inflation happens, you will see a one or two percent higher cost of living. It’s almost like a decrease in salary.”
Student Savings Club
The Student Senate also discussed the possibility of establishing a Student Savings Club, which was proposed at the previous meeting between the Memorandum of Understanding, Collegiate Services Inc. and SGA. If implemented, a Student Savings Club will offer students a range of discounts at national and local businesses.
SGA President Joseph Knotts said the executive committee met Oct. 23 with the representative of the Student Savings Club, Patrick Moriarty to discuss some of the aspects of the program.
“One thing we discovered is the contract we had was out of date and there was more up-to-date contract, because Schaumburg has opted out,” Knotts said. “The actual cost will be probably $1,500.”
According to Knotts, one of the proposed cost reduction solutions was getting alumni on the deal, which would lower the price to $1,000.
Vice President Daly Tongren said she had also contacted the student governments of UIC and Loyola to get a feedback on the program that would help Roosevelt’s SGA in “making an informed decision.”
The date for SGA Week was moved from the end of October to November 11-14.
SGA Treasurer Svjetlana Grbic, who announced the new date, said the event was pushed back because the SGA wasn’t prepared for an earlier date.
Tongren added that each committee was responsible for setting up a separate event for SGA Week. One of them was a coffee giveaway organized by the Communications Committee, where students will be able to get a free cup of hot coffee in a signature SGA sleeve, make suggestions and learn more about SGA.
Senator Shawn Mukherji from the Committee of Political Affairs said the members of his committee were also planning on organizing some activities.
“We have some cool ideas for SGA Week,” Mukherji said. “We want to set up a few tables with some jeopardy thing with the questions related to Chicago politics, national news, local news. It will be a fun event to people thinking politically.”
Sexual Respect/Title IX committee
The meeting was ended by selecting John Pfaff and William Padera as official SGA representatives to the Sexual Respect/Title IX committee — a team of faculty, staff and students that conducts an analysis of the university’s current policies, procedures, and educational programming centered around sexual respect.
Collier, a chair of Sexual Respect/Title IX committee said that “Sexual Respect” is a new term that was coined by her committee and includes healthy relationships, sexual violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
“We have over 30 participants at this time working on different components such as a policy review, protocol review, peer education development, and outreach and training.”