SGA introduces legislation supporting bereavement amnesty policy changes, on-campus food pantry


Senate Leader Caroline Murray presents a slideshow on cabinet members to the Student Government Association senate on Jan. 29 in the Bovee University Center Lakeshore Room.

Student Government Association introduced legislation supporting an amendment of Central Michigan University's bereavement amnesty policy and the creation of an on-campus food pantry at its meeting Jan. 29.

The two resolutions have been discussed in both house and senate two weeks into SGA's Spring 2018 agenda. With the consideration of these two pieces of legislation, the organization has already doubled the legislation created in the Fall 2017 semester.

The resolutions will not be voted on until SGA's next meeting Feb. 5. SGA President Anna Owens said Registered Student Organization representatives will have that week to bring the legislation to their RSO and discuss it.

The resolution supporting the amendment of the bereavement amnesty policy is authored by Academic Affairs Committee Chair Morgan Clark and intends to expand the current bereavement period from the current three days to five. 

Additionally, the legislation aims to add "close friend" to the list of classifications that qualify as a "loved one" for a student to be eligible for bereavement amnesty. The current policy includes family members, a spouse and children. 

The Academic Affairs Committee will further define "close friend" as a non-blood-related person who shared a strong emotional connection with the student requesting amnesty. 

The resolution supporting the creation of an on-campus food pantry was authored by SGA's Sustainability Committee. The piece points out CMU as one of three public universities in Michigan without a food pantry on campus and claims 48 percent of CMU students have been food insecure in the past 30 days.

"It's going to start by being available to students below the poverty level because the pantry will struggle with financial resources at first," said Sen. Brendan Mantey,  Sustainability Committee chair.

As the pantry becomes more financially stable, Mantey said the resource will become available to more students. 

The legislation places the food pantry on CMU's north campus, between Robinson and Larzelere halls. 

SGA leadership also invited members from the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity to speak during the organization's General Board meeting in the Bovee University Center Auditorium. 

OCRIE Assistant Director Mary Martinez and Utica graduate student Rebecca Detroyer joined Title IX Coordinator Katherine Lasher in presenting the "Consent is Central" social media campaign the office began in Fall 2017. 

The presentation came nearly two weeks after former SGA President Ian Elliott was charged with criminal sexual conduct. 

SGA Press Secretary Kamryn Lowler said Owens and Vice President Derek Sturvist had been discussing the presentation with OCRIE for months. 

"It's just a coincidence it fell on today," Lowler said. "It's not in response to anything, but we don't want to detract from the importance of having them come speak because of things that happened before.

"It's important all the time, and every time."