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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

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SGA meeting addresses international social issues, CAPS services


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The first SGA meeting of the summer, held virtually, led to robust conversations around ongoing state and international social issues.| File Photo

In the first SGA meeting of the summer, members discuss several resolutions and mental health services on campus for the fall semester.

Senator Chiamaka Chukwu presented and discussed the Resolution in Support of Creating a Menstrual Equity Program that was then passed. The bill would have a portion of the cost to purchase menstrual product machines come from the SGA Presidential or Speaker of the Senate’s budget.

“This bill mainly works on achieving menstrual equity at UH,” Chukwu said. “There are a lot of individuals that suffer from menstrual equity who do not have access to necessary menstrual products that they need and this resolution is moreso to bridge that gap.”

The program also provides free products in women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. The proposal is aiming to create easy access to the necessary products individuals may need.

In the meeting, Vice President Maryam Alghafir discusses how SGA has previously taken political stances and how this precedent should continue in relation to the recent events surrounding Israel and Palestine.

“Student Government has taken political stances,” Alghafir said. “Just last administration we took stances on Black Lives Matter and on Asian lives, we have constantly taken stances.”

Alghafir then proposed the UH SGA BDS Resolution, which would condemn the actions of Israel against Palestinians, and make an effort to stop SGA’s categorical spending on items that support the Israeli occupation of Palestine or contribute to any of the companies listed by the United Nations.

Alghafir spoke about not letting emotions control the conversation and the importance of facts speaking for themselves.

“As student leaders in our community it is our duty to be caring and to be just representatives and to advocate for our student body and to speak against injustice,” Alghafir said. 

Some, like senator Rogelio Catilla opposed the passing of the BDS Resolution by sharing their experiences and expressed voting against the bill.

“I considered not getting involved in Jewish life at UH because I didn’t want to have harassment,”  Castilla said. “Even at the senate before the senate meeting, I received harassing text messages from a complete stranger about Israel and Palestine. The UH current climate for Jewish students makes me feel concerned about how BDS will increase and intensify these occurrences.”

Castilla further speaks on what the effects of passing the BDS Resolution would have on Jewish students at UH and how it would make them feel.

“It is not for us senators or student government officials to tell other Jewish students how to feel and to tell them what their actions are to make when they feel targeted and unsafe for being Jewish at UH, that is abuse of power,” Castilla said. “If we pass this BDS Resolution our issue will be complicit in making Jewish people at UH feel unsafe.”

Additionally, some guest speakers spoke about mental health at the University to discuss what the process of the Counseling and Psychological Services would look like transitioning into the fall semester. 

“What we will be doing as we transition back to campus over the summer and the fall is we’re going to be offering both in-person sessions and continuing the telehealth sessions,” said CAPS clinical director Rune Mølbak. “We’ll start by offering individual counseling sessions, what we call single therapy sessions and if that goes smoothly then we will also offer groups again on site but we’re going to start by continuing to offer telehealth just to have maximum precaution and for safety.”

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