CSG executives respond to protests, introduce resolution to allocate $3,500 for religion survey

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 10:30pm

In response to yesterday’s protests regarding racist incidents on campus, Central Student Government executives solemnly addressed the assembly Tuesday night, urging representatives to stand with the demonstrators and actively listen to the concerns of their constituents.

CSG President Anushka Sarkar, an LSA senior, stressed the importance of maintaining the assembly’s purpose in representing the entire student body, including the voices of the demonstrations.

“You were all elected to represent students and their views,” Sarkar said. “If there’s enough hurt and frustration in the student body that these demonstrations are happening, it's your job to engage with it so please make sure you do your due diligence to represent those voices and that they’re heard.”

While no official statement has been released by CSG, Sarkar took to her personal Twitter account speaking on behalf of CSG to weigh in on the demonstrations yesterday afternoon, standing in solidarity with the demonstrators.

Sarkar offered support and services to the student demonstrators.

“Folks engaged in these demonstrations — let us know how we can help. Water, fans, solidarity, let us know,” Sarkar wrote.

CSG Vice President Nadine Jawad, Public Policy senior, followed Sarkar’s statement by highlighting the emotional struggles students throughout campus are facing and offering strong condolences for the demonstrators.

“A lot of students on campus right now are really hurting and there’s a lot (of), honestly, sadness going around campus right now and a lot of people don’t feel safe and included right now,” Jawad said.

She spoke about the demands of recognition on behalf of the demonstrators, calling upon representatives to collaborate on ways to make the entire student body feel included.

“As representatives of your respective colleges I think we should really put our heads together to think about ways — not that we can solve the issue because that’s not a practical thing to say — but maybe just make a dent in making people feel included,” she said.

CSG Rep. Hafsa Tout, an LSA senior, began first reads of a resolution she co-sponsored, which allocates $3,500 to conduct a study by the non-affiliated interfaith organization Interfaith Youth Core to gather information on religious and worldview perspectives of the student body.

The survey, also known as the Values, Interfaith Engagement and Worldview Survey, designed by the IYC, aims to empirically assess students’ perceptions of religious diversity on college campuses as well as students’ engagement with their corresponding worldviews.

According to Tout, the survey would provide CSG and the administration with a better understanding of the campus climate and perspectives throughout the University to help guide public policy construction.

“I think knowing and understanding on the whole what students perspectives are will be beneficial to us as student leaders in central student government and even more to the administration and it ultimately does play a part in policy formation,” Tout said.

Addressing concerns about student participation in the survey among the assembly, Tout stated that the survey would be conducted externally by the IYC, along with coordination by the Center for Campus Involvement’s Kelly Dunlop, who has signed on as the official institutional representative.

If passed, the survey would be conducted during the spring 2018 semester, followed by a comprehensive report by CSG’s Research and Polling Commission for use by University administration and student governing bodies.

A vote for the resolution will be held next week.

Note: the orgininal headline read "table" not "introduce".