SGA discusses changes to consensual relationships policy, professor evaluations

by Editor-in-Chief Jasmine Fleming

Student Government Association’s Senate discussed documentation Jan. 19 from the Shared Governance Executive Committee regarding staff and student relationships and the professor evaluation process, as well as passed a bill for Freshman Forum meeting attendance.

Shared Governance, made of members from SGA, Faculty Senate and Staff Senate, asked SGA to discuss changes the committee is considering making to the handbook’s consensual relationships policy between “paraprofessionals” and students.

“A paraprofessional is defined as a student who is selected, trained and supervised in assuming responsibilities and performing tasks that are intended to (1) directly promote the individual personal development of his or her peers, (2) foster the creation and maintenance of environments that stimulate and support residents’ personal and education development and/or (3) perform tasks that ensure the maintenance of secure, clean, healthy, psychologically safe and esthetically pleasing living accommodations,” according to the update.

SGA President Sarah Green said the term is meant to describe resident advisers. However, the update does not clarify which student positions would be “paraprofessional.”

The policy would require them to disclose relationships with students who report to them so they can be moved to another location or otherwise occomodated. Not disclosing the relationships could result in penalties such as “discipline up to and including termination from job duties and referral for possible violation of the Student Code of Conduct or Title IX,” according to the proposal.

Senate voted 12 – 11 in favor of supporting the proposal.

The members also considered a proposal to change the methods for evaluating courses. The members were split in an informal vote to suggest going paperless or continue current evaluation practices.

Lastly, SGA unanimously passed a bill to “require Freshman Forum members to attend no less than two Senate and/or UPC meetings each semester unless excused by Freshman Forum advisors,” according to the bill.

“We’ve had some people who were kind of indifferent to (this bill), but for the most part (Freshman Forum) is pretty excited about it,” said Freshman Forum Adviser Mollie Schaefer.