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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Activities & Organizations

Ableist claims erupt after most recent SGA meeting


Wednesday’s meeting raised ableist suspicions after a student with a disability was denied from a position twice. | Logan Linder/The Cougar

Wednesday night’s SGA meeting sparked a discussion regarding ableism and biases in the administration after a student with a disability was voted against for a second time.

Junior Spiro Hoxha stood before the senate in the hopes of being chosen as election commissioner, however, he was turned away for a final time after an unmoderated caucus ensued.

“I’m not here to change the election codes, I’m just here to follow them and to make sure that we actually stay on task and represent the students instead of attacking each other,” Hoxha said.

Hoxha discussed his plans to make future ballots more manageable and readable by providing accommodations for those with accessibility concerns.

“I myself am disabled and I think that’s something we should put at the forefront of the next election,” Hoxha said.

Attorney General Tiffanie Gordon allowed Hoxha to be voted on a second time, because she believes he is the right fit for the position.

“He is a great person for the job and a great person for SGA and I will truly believe that and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t put him back up and I’m pretty sure people in my department wouldn’t be putting themselves behind him as much as me and Tony (Kehl, auditor),” Gordon said.

Some senators were in favor of the revote, but others, like Sen. Michael Abel, were not.

“I would also be willing to bet that the same courtesy of forcing revotes until you get your desired outcome would not necessarily be extended to all senators of this chamber,” Abel said.

After Hoxha’s rejection, Sen. Marie McGrew called some of the senators and administration ableist, which caused Sen. Mikel Moore to speak out about the negative use of the word and other similar phrases.

“I would just caution other senators against using ‘-ist’ and ‘ism’ because that implies motive and intent,” Moore said. “I think we should look at each other as senators and respect each other’s decision making process.”

McGrew spoke heavily in favor of Hoxha and suggested compromising, stating that Mya Little was given a second chance and is now on the supreme court, after being denied the first time.

McGrew claimed the vote against Hoxha is the most ableist vote of this administration and called President Joshua Martin out for the biases of some of the senators he has appointed, while also stating that the senate “let off some dog whistles.”

“I know some of the people you’ve appointed here don’t care, but that kind of speaks to your leadership because a great leader puts great people around them,” McGrew said.

McGrew continued to address the senate and the rest of the administration on their ableism, claiming some members “had a face of disdain” as Hoxha took the podium.

“At the end of the day, you have clearly appointed, in my opinion, some very ableist people,” McGrew said. “And for that, I’m sorry.”

Sen. Colin Campbell stated how he was previously kicked out of a meeting for some of his remarks, whereas McGrew was allowed to continue participating in the meeting.

“I think we need to not have this double standard and I think we need to be much more cognizant of what goes on here,” Campbell said.

In the only unanimous vote of the night, the senate approved the Campus Cup resolution, which will allow all students who menstruate the opportunity to receive a free menstrual cup.

The Proxy Update Voting Bill was passed, which will prevent senators from proxy voting on themselves and for senators up for appointment.

With none of the three candidates up for the Community Research Advisory Board attending the meeting, the senate tabled the vote until their next regular session, and history junior Megan Dagnall was appointed as the newest senator for the honors college.

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