STORY BY MORGAN GSTALTER
On Thursday, Feb. 5, the Drake University Student Senate unanimously voted to allocate funding to bring two family members of Henrietta Lacks to Des Moines from March 30-31 in collaboration with the Coalition of Black Students (CBS).
CBS president Brytani Cavil and Records and Financial Officer Jashay Fisher-Fowler proposed a $5,520 motion to Student Senate to cover the costs associated with the academic lecturers.
Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman whose cancerous cells were used against her knowledge for immortal cell medical research at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951. Cavil said that Lacks’ family struggled financially throughout the duration of her life without any compensation from the medical advancements.
“We are working with two pharmacy organizations because multiple fields can benefit from hearing them speak about their experience,” Cavil said.
Cavil said the two family members would present an academic lecture about their experience with the aftermath of Henrietta’s passing. The speech would take place in Sheslow Auditorium and would be free admission to the public.
In tandem with the Lacks proposal, Senate also voted unanimously for a $3,621 allocation to cover costs for eight members of CBS to travel to Oklahoma State University from Feb. 26-28 for the Annual Big XII Conference on Black Student Government.
Cavil and Fisher-Fowler have both previously attended the conference and said the experience was very beneficial to their personal growth and leadership skills.
“I learned how to sell myself, go places and lead by example” Fisher-Fowler said.
Cavil said the conference is a place to enhance leadership skills and opportunities, as well as shaping a foundation for future CBS leaders.
“Since we have a small leadership pool, it’s important to be getting younger students, like freshmen and sophomores, involved early,” Cavil said.
Senators also discussed the $10,450.50 allocation requested from Drake Men’s Ultimate Club for the spring semester. The proposal would pay for transportation, registration and lodging costs for three tournaments in Indiana, Illinois and South Carolina.
Mitchell McCarthy, team captain, said the tournaments in Indiana and Illinois were necessary to compete collegiately but the High Tide Ultimate Frisbee Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina would help spread Drake University’s name on the East Coast.
Sen. Krysta Thomason said that the money for the South Carolina tournament was too much for a tournament that was not necessary for their competition.
“I think it is irresponsible to spend that much money on a tournament that would not inhibit them from competing,” Thomason said.
A motion was passed to lower the allocation to $4,332.50 to cover the cost of the two Midwestern tournaments.
Student Senate also voted to recognize Interfaith and Drake Photography Club as full and official organizations.
Interfaith will be organization whose purpose is to spread tolerance and diversity of religious ideals through intellectual conversations that would include the religious and non-religious community at Drake.
Interfaith would work with the Comparison Project under the leadership of Professor Timothy Knepper to organize events with various faith communities.
Drake Photography Club is a place to network educationally and socially for those interested in photography.
Julian State said the club would bring students together for photowalks, workshops and guest speakers from local Des Moines professionals and peer critiques.
Drake University Provost Dee Jones was also in attendance to speak with Senate about the Campus Climate Survey that went live on Feb. 3.
Participation in the confidential 15-30 minute survey was encouraged by Jones who said the data collected will be used toward the goal of making Drake a more “welcoming climate.”
“I’d like to thank those of you who had already taken it,” Jones said. “Those who haven’t, get on it.”
When asked by President Joey Gale what her version of the perfect survey results would be, Jones said results that “would reflect the world we live in.”