Senate holds first meeting of the year

Senates responsibilities shift due to COVID, members share plans for the quarter

Kyle Morrison, News Editor

The ASSP senate had their first official meeting on Monday, Sept. 21. The short 30 minute meeting was highlighted by introductions from each officer to their new peers as well as voting on the senate values for the upcoming school year.

After quick deliberation and a unanimous vote, the senate approved a list of values that they believe will help guide them through the upcoming term. Among these values were the words respect, tolerance, humility, and accessibility.

Two of the ASSP Core officers, Vice President of Ministries Tim Strachan and Vice President of Intercultural Affairs Laur Lugos both announced efforts from their departments to help students communicate and feel safe during the US presidential election.

Tim Strachan, Vice President of Ministries, attending the first virtual senate meeting of the 2020-2021 school year.
(Levi Barlet)

“One of the things I’m working on as Vice President of Intercultural Affairs is creating spaces for people who both identify as conservative evangelical, but also any form of liberal leaning progressive voters,” Lugos explained in a post meeting Zoom call. “My current project is actually working with different artists around the political spectrum on campus to engage in questions of what counts as life.”

Lugos hopes to create a multimedia site where singers, musicians, painters, and other artists can illustrate their political opinions. By doing all this under the prompt of “what is life” she hopes to engage both pro life students as well as social justice activists, and maybe even facilitate conversation between people with different viewpoints.

Lugos also expressed hope that these programs can continue after Nov. 3rd, to help facilitate healing after what will be a contentious election season.

Strachan is still unsure of the full logistics of his plan, but he and his department are also aiming to provide spaces for students to feel safe during and after the election season.

“We are hoping that on Nov. 3rd, that at any point throughout the day, regardless if students have classes and stuff going on, that there are resources for them to process, spaces for them to engage spiritually and emotionally in a space with other students,” Strachan explained in a post-meeting interview.

Strachan went on to explain that when he says “with other students” he means more in the sense of a shared, collective experience, and less in the sense of in-person interaction, in order to comply with campus-wide COVID-19 protocol.

Executive Vice President Hannah Waterman presided over the entire meeting and while she did not share details about her plans for the coming term in the meeting, she is ready to make impactful changes over the coming school year.

In a Zoom call, Waterman expressed her wish to change the SPU statement on human sexuality, with the help of the rest of senate.

“One of the main concerns is making sure SPU is a place where students are free to learn, and that can look a lot of different ways.”

This quarter due to SPU budget constraints, senate will not be tasked with allocating money to clubs and organizations. Waterman hopes this will allow senate to tackle other issues.

“A lot of the times, senate is seen as a place for clubs to get money, which is absolutely true… but this quarter we do not have financial proposals.” Waterman explained. “I think that really opens the door to making a change in how senate is perceived and used by the students body.”

Waterman believes a successful senate is one that allows students to shape SPU, and she hopes that this year’s senate can accomplish just that.

“If students are able to take the projects they are passionate about and causes that they really care about and that they’ve been wanting to make changes on campus in that vein, I think if students made the change they want through senate, I think that’ll be a successful year.”