The Vermont Cynic

SGA works to protect marginalized groups on campus

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SGA works to protect marginalized groups on campus

Zoe Stern, Staff Writer

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SGA has passed two resolutions to show their support of transgender, nonbinary and intersex students, as well as Jewish students, in light of the national political climate.

The first resolution, in support of the Queer Student Union and their funding requests, was sponsored by sophomore Carolynn Van Arsdale, chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee, and sophomore Aidan Doherty, chair of the Student Action Committee.

The resolution was created through the Queer Student Union’s call for support, action and expectations, Van Arsdale said.

The call for action made by the Queer Student Union wasn’t addressed to SGA, unlike other clubs who have made demands before. SGA, however, still felt they should do what they could as an organization and create the resolution, Doherty said.

“We responded directly in giving ways that we can do better, things that we can do, action steps, to three or four of the six [expectations],” Doherty said. “But some of them were just not things that were necessarily in our control. We said that we supported them, but we didn’t necessarily lay out things we will do.”

The goal was to try and make transgender, non-binary and intersex students feel more comfortable on campus amidst the issue of the United States government trying to define one’s gender at their birth, Van Arsdale said.

The resolution states that the recent memo from President Donald Trump’s administration calling for redefining the federal interpretation of gender is detrimental to students and their livelihoods, which goes against the environment UVM tries to provide.

The resolution will allow menstrual products in all bathrooms on campus and encourage Residential Life to create gender-inclusive housing in all of the residential communities, including two gender inclusive bathrooms in each hall, according to the official resolution document.

The second resolution, sponsored by sophomore SGA Senator Brooke Stellman, a member on the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee, denounces violence, anti-Semitism and white nationalism, targeting refugees, immigrants and minorities, according to the resolution.

“The resolution I wrote for last Tuesday was just to acknowledge what happened,” Stellman said. “Of course there are many people that identify as Jewish and this affects everyone, so I just wanted to say something about it.”

The resolution is meant to let Jewish students know that SGA is here to listen to them and recognize what happened in Pittsburgh was an anti-Semitic attack, Stellman said.

It’s also meant to show that SGA is committed to denouncing violence, anti-Semitism, white nationalism and the targeting of refugees and migrants, he said.

“I think that it was a really important way to recognize that while this was an anti-Semitic attack and issue, this is something far more reaching,” said Sharon Lifschutz, UVM Hillel’s assistant director. “To step up and say that this is wrong was a very important moment for those who just want to come to campus and be safe and be who they are and who they want to be.”

Hillel is looking forward to building a stronger and more positive relationship between SGA and Hillel by working together to create a safer community, Lifschutz said.

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SGA works to protect marginalized groups on campus