In the wake of a large maskless gathering amid the snow storm earlier this month, the ASUW Board of Directors (BOD) passed a student senate resolution censuring the students involved. The BOD also heard the first presentation from the Office of Inclusive Design working group.
Greek Row party
The partiers have drawn the ire of students and administrators alike. A petition to suspend those involved has over 4,000 signatures as of Sunday, and vice president for student life Denzil Suite wrote in an all-campus email that “those found to have violated the UW Student Code of Conduct are subject to disciplinary action.”
Senator Alex Davidson, the bill’s sponsor, said that it is intended to be an initial response that may preface further actions by the ASUW later on to “address the fact that Greek life is an organization that has a structure with enforcement mechanisms in place, which they aren't executing.”
Director of community relations Alex Schroeder said that the Greek councils are “extremely disappointed by these events” and have begun holding hearings in relation to the gathering, but that holding individuals accountable is more complicated than simply issuing punishments.
“It would be very difficult to hold a chapter responsible for this,” ASUW president Camille Hattwig said. “[The Interfraternity Council] and [the UW Panhellenic Association] can’t touch individuals, only admin can touch individuals.”
Currently, the plan is for the Greek councils to send the names of those present at the party to their individual chapters and ask them to “handle that accordingly,” Schroeder said, adding that the councils have reached out to both the UW and King County for help in dealing with the situation.
The BOD generally agreed that, given the questions about the jurisdiction of the Greek councils, the onus is on UW administration to hold individuals accountable.
“It really should not take more than one or two of this type of recurring incident of a quite literally deadly disease for there to be some very big structural changes that the top levels of UW administration needs to facilitate and lead,” Hattwig said.
Office of Inclusive Design
The BOD heard its first presentation on the 55-page proposal to create an ASUW Office of Inclusive Design (OID). First proposed by now-ASUW President Camille Hattwig over two years ago and passed last year, the proposal has spent the last year being refined by the OID Working Group.
The philosophy of inclusive design entails making events accessible to all who wish to attend from the beginning, rather than planning events around abled attendees and adding disability accommodations upon request. Common implementations of this approach include planning for asynchronous access for those who cannot attend an event physically at a certain time, or providing real-time closed captioning for the hard of hearing and non-native English speakers.
“What we have now, that little ADA accessibility statement that we put on the bottom of posters sometimes, is putting the burden on the student,” working group co-chair Christine Lew said.
As proposed, the office would consist of three employees who work just under 40 hours per week combined, and would oversee a budget of about $100,000 paid for by the UW’s Services and Activities Fee.
Approximately $75,000 of that is earmarked for clubs to fund inclusively designed events on campus, while most of the remainder is earmarked for wages. The proposal notes concerns that the $75,000 allocation may exhaust itself quickly, citing conversations with numerous experts on disability resources.
The BOD passed Board Bill 2.26, which appoints Veronica Lin to the Services and Activities Fee Committee.
The BOD passed Board Bill 1.02, which adds a question to this year’s ASUW election ballot regarding a change to the ASUW bylaws. Members of the ASUW Judicial Committee who intend to endorse or become a candidate in the ASUW elections are required to resign their positions before doing so.
The current language regarding this resignation was not updated in 2017 when ASUW elections were moved to the fourth week of spring quarter; the new language would move the resignation date forward to the eighth week of fall quarter accordingly.
Sydney Porter, vice chair of the UW chapter of the Washington Public Interest Research Group (WashPIRG), a nonpartisan student advocacy group, joined the BOD to discuss efforts to lobby U.S. Congress to expand the Pell Grant program, and to ask the BOD to lend the ASUW’s support to those efforts.
The BOD meets Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. PST. The meeting schedule and links to join the Zoom webinar can be found on the ASUW website.
Reach Assistant News Editor Matthew Hipolito at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @hipolmat
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