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Group focuses on sexual assault, inclusion

Margaret Hynds | Thursday, December 12, 2013

Student body vice president Nancy Joyce said she has been “very proud” of senate’s progress this year.

 “My perception is that people, when they are here, and then when they are going to their department meetings, [are] very committed,” she said. “I’m very pleased with the way they’ve acted with each other, with me, and their dorms.” 

Senate has already tackled some tough issues in the first half of the year, Joyce said, including resolutions on sexual assault and diversity. 

“I’m really proud of the way they’ve handled these issues,” Joyce said. “They’ve done a good job of contributing different viewpoints and bringing different perspectives to the table.”

To address sexual assault on campus, Senate passed a resolution in mid-September in support of NDSP’s decision to change the wording of emails sent to the student body following  sexual assault reports. Most noticeably, the term “sexual battery” replaced “forcible fondling.” 

Although the official decision was made by NDSP, at the time, student body president Alex Coccia said, “[the resolution] shows our support of the fact that they asked for our input.”

In its last meeting before Thanksgiving, the group passed a resolution to support recommendations regarding inclusion on campus issued by the Diversity Council. A similar resolution had failed to pass a week earlier after a series of heated debates leading up to the vote.

“I think [those two] resolutions are the biggest ones to come out of Senate, not just because of what the resolutions said, but because of the discussions we had,” Joyce said. “More than anything, I was really pleased with the fact that it seemed to me that senators were going back to their dorms and talking with [their constituents].”

Joyce said senate acts as a “great soundboard” for ideas to help determine how the student body might react to different things.

“I hope they view their role as one that comes with a lot of importance and weight because I take their opinions very seriously,” she said. “I hope they view their role as one that has a lot of influence over what happens in student government.

“In general, I think that the senators can go underappreciated, so I’d like to say to anyone reading this article that they should go back to their dorms and thank them.”

Joyce said for the rest of the academic year, the group will deal with procedural issues and probably continue its conversations about diversity and sexual assault on campus.

Grade: A-

Senate has passed influential resolutions pertinent to the most important issues on campus this semester.

Contact Margaret Hynds at