Seats were in short supply, but emotions were not at last Thursday’s meeting of Student Senate.
Close to 100 senators, students, faculty and staff crowded into the glass room on the second floor of Cowles Library last Thursday night.
A majority of the students present were there to show support for the petition that was written in response to an act of racial discrimination that happened on Drake’s campus.
“One of the reasons we’re very, very upset this evening is because… this is not an isolated incident,” said Matt Martin, a member of the Coalition of Black Students.
The incident mentioned in the petition involves a white student yelling out of a window in Jewett to a group of black students walking passed.
The white student yelled, “and get off our campus. We don’t want you on our campus. We don’t like…,” according to the petition.
Martin said that although more serious and blatant incidents have happened in the past, other students, faculty and even President David Maxwell urged the students involved to speak out this time.
“There are a lot of black people who are uncomfortable on this campus,” Martin said.
Martin asked Student Senate for a response, but other students who showed up in support thought fostering communication could also be an outcome.
Former Diversity Interest Senator-At-Large Tanaya Thomas urged students to offer suggestions and ideas on how to combat the current racial relations at Drake.
“Even though this topic — race — is an uncomfortable topic to talk about, it needs to be discussed,” Thomas said.
Others were for fostering discussions and communication.
“It’s from small discussions that great change can be,” said Sen. Sumit Sen.
Sen. Erin Hogan said that action should have taken place prior to the incident.
“Why did it have to come to this for us to have this dialogue?” Hogan said. “Clearly, we have identified there is a Drake culture issue.”
Quincy Brown, president of Young Legendz, also offered his opinion on the subject at hand.
“Its about relearning mindsets — you have to re-teach,” Brown said.
In other business, Student Senate also approved a new student organization and made allocations to two organizations.
The Drake Disc Golf Club was passed by acclamation and will provide students with the opportunity to play in disc golf leagues and tournaments.
Senate also allocated $800 to Students in Free Enterprise for transportation and lodging costs associated with attending the SIFE Regional Competition on April 16 in Chicago.
The Goodwin Kirk RA Staff also received a $275.61 allocation to help cover costs associated with holding the GK 3K.
The three-kilometer race will happen on Drake’s campus on April 21. Registration is open to all Drake students.
The 3K race will happen on Drake’s campus on April 21. Registration is open to all Drake students.