Politics and Economics

SGA Discusses: Updating the Removal Process, Mindfulness

On Nov. 4, 2020, SGA senate began with a quick discussion of remote learning during the informal conversation of Community Commentary. With the recent COVID-19 spike at Wheaton, many students have opted to leave campus over the past two weeks instead of waiting for Thanksgiving recess. David Palombo, 2021 chair, felt a fading desire to complete work as soon as he arrived home. Abby Cook ’22, SGA Vice President, was less than excited about her final exams that fell on the weekend, jokingly suggesting that professors do not care about their students. Cook was excited about the light SGA agenda to offset the tough week.

Aba Lypps ’21 jumped into the Presidential Updates with a reminder that there are only two Senate meetings left this semester. They spoke of the new on-campus printing access in the Club Hub from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and of the meetings between Public Safety and Student Life and Services. 

Nicole Lombardi, SGA advisor, briefed the Senate on the “Conversation about Land Acknowledgements” watch party and discussion that occurred earlier in the day. Raquel Ramos, from the Marshall Center for Intercultural Learning and Kate Boylan, from the Wheaton Archives led the watch party and subsequent discussion. The original conversation, hosted by Chicago’s Field Museum, was held on Indigenous Peoples’ Day; the panelists discussed land acknowledgments, the Native American Community, their vibrant culture and deep ties to the land. Lombardi noted that community dialogue is a first step and that Wheaton community members need to work further. 

The SGA Senate meeting then resumed, moving to a proposal to Update the Removal Process, by Mikaela Savarese ’22, Accessibility Board Chair, and Kavita Premkumar ’21, Education Council Secretary. Premkumar outlined issues with a recent chair removal, noting that the current removal process is taxing on members. Savarese continued, stating that the precedent for removal is not noted in the bylaws, so they added it in along with a few ease of use reforms. The goal of the reforms is to allow continued normal operation of the board throughout the removal process, to reduce pressure on board members that may not be integrated into SGA, and eliminate potential biases in the removal process. 

Palombo expressed his support for the proposal, highlighting the importance of a streamlined and clear removal process, especially as tensions tend to be high. Ben Goho, 2024 Chair, suggested an amendment to the proposal that allowed for an accelerated removal. Emiliano Herrera-Rosa, Class of 2023 Member-At-Large, proposed a second amendment that involved the SGA advisor before the final hearing. The proposed amendments and the proposal to update the removal process were passed into the bylaws. 

The mindfulness presentation and activity, led by Nicole Lombardi, consisted of the many forms of reflection, a mindfulness exercise and a recap. Lombardi provided a few examples of reflection, listing meditation, bullet journals, podcasts, gardening, and physical activities. Carlos Corrada, Class of 2022 Member-At-Large, expressed his love for gardening. Next, Lombardi led the Senate in guided meditation. During the recap, Savarese suggested the Headspace app for meditation and sleep habits. 

Finally, the Senate moved to Community Commentary. Savarese started by alerting everyone about the Accessibility Board’s event to create a community space aimed at destressing, staying connected and playing games. They also hinted at a potential mental health workshop at the same event focused on study skills and breaks. The event will be on Monday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. EST. Delia MacLaughlin ’22, Sustainability Board Chair, announced The Environmental Justice Virtual Panel, hosted by Sustainability Board and the Black Student Association. The panel will explore environmental justice from both a domestic and global lens and will feature Professor Benoit, from Wheaton’s Chemistry department, and Professor Neil Oculi, from the University of Connecticut’s Environmental Policy department. It will be held on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. EST. Corrada wrapped things up by checking in on everyone to make sure they were taking care of themselves.