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StuGov discusses Greek Life, forthcoming elections in first meeting of the semester

Boston University Student Government discussed Greek life, upcoming StuGov elections, the creation of new Senate roles and other on-campus affairs Monday. AMANDA SCHNEIDER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston University Student Government discussed updates on upcoming elections, changes to BU Greek Life and proposals to create new Senate roles in a Zoom meeting Monday night.

The Student Election Commission is hosting events in the coming weeks to prepare candidates to potentially run for office, including a Zoom information session Feb. 3 and 9, and a “Leadership Networking Event” over AirMeet Thursday.

Once campaign season starts March 1, Co-Chair of the SEC Daniel Daponte, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the commission is considering hosting hybrid events either on Marsh Plaza or Cummington Mall that will require green badges and pre-registration to attend.

“You will have the opportunity to interact with candidates in sort of pods,” Daponte said, “to have those small-scale conversations, socially distanced of course, and get to know the candidates as best you can.”

Daponte said the SEC was considering having a virtual component to the event as well.

The Commission also updated voting procedures to include ranked choice voting for the executive board and a unified ballot for all college governments.

The deadline for students to declare their intent to run for office is Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m.

BU Greek Life held a meeting with presidents of all on-campus fraternity and sorority chapters Jan. 18 to discuss their future, which involves an action statement and monthly transparency reports to combat sexual assault.

“We want to acknowledge our role creating a culture that perpetuates sexual assault and harassment,” President of the Panhellenic Council Victoria Bond, a CAS junior, said.

The plans also include a revamping of the previous education for new members in fraternities and sororities away from “anti-hazing and alcohol- and drug-use awareness,” Bond said.

These concepts, which are reiterated throughout membership, will be changed to modules about diet culture, body positivity, safe sex practices and birth control options.

Greek Life will also be hosting events throughout the semester, including a sexual assault prevention seminar all of its members will be required to attend, as well as a diversity and inclusion seminar open to all students.

Bond also answered questions about how the PHC is working to make Greek Life more accessible to students from low-income backgrounds.

“The Panhellenic Council is working on potentially completely eliminating recruitment fees for next recruitment,” they said. “We weren’t able to make that happen now, but we do probably have the budget to make that happen, so it’s something I’m personally pushing for as president.”

This was the first meeting between representatives from Greek Life and StuGov that will occur monthly for the rest of the semester.

A discussion of potential new Senate roles took up most of the meeting. Senate Chair Vincent D’Amato, a senior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Studies, introduced possible amendments to Senate Bill 001, which included adding a Senate press secretary and Senate chief of staff to the government.

The Senate press secretary was proposed for the position’s potential to “push more Senate-focused material,” D’Amato said.

CAS Sens. Samantha Casas and Evan Teplensky brought up potential conflicts with the pre-existing communications department in the executive branch.

“I think it takes away some of the roles of what the communications department is already doing,” Casas said. “Don’t you think instead of bringing StuGov together in one account, it isolates us even more and might confuse the student body?”

Teplensky listed other ways the Senate could improve its outreach instead of creating a new position, including a partnership with the @bostonu Instagram account and introducing the StuGov account to freshmen at orientation.

The Senate chief of staff was proposed to “help us with the comings and goings of Senate and its businesses internally,” similar to the president’s chief of staff.

“As much as I would love for this to be my full-time job, I am a full-time student,” D’Amato said. “Sometimes I just miss things.”

D’Amato said the position would be helpful for him and other chairs going forward in maintaining an organized and efficient Senate.

“Just having an extra person here that I can, if I feel the need or if future chairs feel the need to, appoint at their discretion I feel would really help,” he said.

Casas said the Senate should be involved with the appointment of the new chief of staff.

“If there’s going to be a chief of staff that’s also going to be working on things that concern the Senate,” Casas said, “I think that it’s reasonable for the Senate to have a say in who that person is.”

D’Amato also proposed changes to the eligibility for Senate chair so potential candidates would have to be current members of the StuGov legislative branch.

StuGov will vote whether to delegate overview of this bill to the Rules Committee next week.

Victoria Bond is the vice chairman of The Daily Free Press board of directors. They were not involved in the editing of this article.

Abbigale Shi, editorial page editor of The Daily Free Press, is a Student Government Environmental Affairs cabinet staffer. She was not involved in the editing of this article.

Juncheng Quan, staff writer of The Daily Free Press, is a Student Government CAS Senator. He was not involved in the editing or reporting of this article.

Ilana Keusch, staff writer of The Daily Free Press, is a Student Government Associate Justice. She was not involved in the editing or reporting of this article.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated that Evan Teplensky suggested the Senate partner with the @campus.survivors Instagram account. Teplensky suggested the Senate partner with the @bostonu Instagram account. The article has been updated to reflect this.

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