“Point Of Order: Accessibility”

Dear Editor,

Members of the student body, the Senate, and former leadership have expressed significant concerns about Student Government operations of the March 23 budget meeting. Many of us choose to remain anonymous due to threats of retaliation.

We cite the recent budget meeting actions – the rules were unfairly enforced and a palpable bias demonstrated towards certain senators. These actions effectively silenced multiple constituencies with rulings that prevented a fair and equitable meeting. In this meeting, the “out of orders” rule directly harmed inclusivity, specifically targeting multiple senators who are neurodivergent.

Examples of this include surprise resolutions, surprise new rules, misinforming and/or disinforming the senate. Attempts to reach out to leadership by both current and former members of senate have been met with silence, and whether intentional or not, has led to some senators resigning.

Furthermore, members of the student body have become outraged with a lack of access to Student Government. After complaints of having no access to the Student Government office because it is constantly closed, student body members feel this is a direct attempt to exclude them from being able to communicate their concerns about important issues. Additionally, this has resulted in senators not being able to access resources such as their office, mailbox, and conference rooms.

It is for these reasons that we senators, former leaders, and members of the student body believe that accessibility of meetings, both open to the public and accessible to those with specific needs in order to fully take part in such meetings, is of paramount importance.

While we value the planning put into the budget meeting, particularly the time spent and the creation of multiple budget options, we cannot condone the removal of senators from meeting over relatively minor infractions.

Additionally, this letter was prompted by statements made in the senate meeting today, which did not allow further discussion on why senators took certain actions. This letter serves as a response to those statements.

Sincerely,

Patrick Flynn

On behalf of current and former senators, former leadership, and student body at large.

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