By, WILL BREDENSTEINER
Some big changes may be coming to Drake University Painted Street. The latest senate meeting was attended by more than 30 guests, largely to support a referendum to paint Painted Street black in response to hate events on campus. Drake University’s 32nd Student Senate held its 12th meeting on Nov. 8, 2018.
A racist note was slipped under the door of a black student in the first-year residence halls. Students of color denounced the actions of a racist note being given to a student. Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion Erin Lain sent out an email notifying all of campus of the incident. Jerry Parker said if you have any information about the incident, please contact him. You can report anonymously at Ethics Point, at https://www.drake.edu/ethicspoint/.
“Student Equity Action Partners will be tabling in Olmsted next week, and we will be holding a rally in Helmick Commons on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at noon,” Lain said.
In a few short hours, students of color gathered dozens of signatures to support the referendum. They have the goal of having Painted Street painted black up to Relays and allowing groups to resume the painting tradition but having the circle between Painted Street and Meredith painted black permanently. The goal would be to show solidarity amongst the Drake community and to denounce hate speech and white supremacy.
Morgan Coleman, a first-year, was one of the students who spoke to the senate in support of this referendum and addressed concerns senators raised, from alumni reactions to notifying potential students as to why the street is painted black. Coleman also wanted to see specific action from Drake’s administration and active conversations between students, specifically involvement from white students.
In a message to the student body, Coleman said, “This work is continuous and it happens every day.” The vote for the referendum was passed unanimously.
Director of Campus Public Safety Scott Law came to speak to the senate. Law spoke about safety on campus. Law reported that the Des Moines Police Department has leads that they are working on towards recent burglaries, and Public Safety has recovered two stolen vehicles in the area. Over the last 30 days, the Drake Neighborhood has experienced an increase in crime overall compared to previous months.
Law also addressed the concern of Bulldog Alerts and what goes into the decision of sending out an alert. Public Safety said they were alerted to a situation four hours after the fact and that no alert was sent because only active situations warrant a Bulldog Alert. Physical characteristics are only included if three or more are included.
“Throwing a blanket statement out there does not help us,” Law said.
Vice President of Student Activities Giada Morresi asked about the concern of campus lighting and Law reported that Greek Street received new lights and Drake University is working towards replacing lights on campus.
Education Senator Aaron Eisler commented that a lot of students in the School of Education have classes in the evening and are receiving tickets in order to park near campus, and he asked if Public Safety is still ticketing at full capacity. Law said that Public Safety is only ticketing cars that are parked illegally, like blocking a fire lane or parking overnight in the community lot.
Three funding motions came to the floor. Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance (MEPPA) requested $700 to cover transportation costs for two students to attend the National Students for Justice in Palestine. The conference is taking place on November 16 at the University of California, Los Angeles. MEPPA’s goal is to “promote awareness of Middle Eastern human rights issues on the Drake campus and surrounding Des Moines area and for assisting in fundraising humanitarian aid to improve the quality of life of refugees in conflict-affected areas of the Middle East.” The motion passed by a vote of 15 to 2, with 1 abstention.
The second funding motion was requested by Kaitlynn Sandstrom, to cover the costs to attend the Midwest Economics Association Annual Conference. The cost is $623.50 to cover registration, travel and lodging. The conference takes place on March 15 in St. Louis, Missouri. Sandstrom conducted research on water filtration and seeks to get feedback from peers who have knowledge in the area. The motion passed by a vote of 13 to 5.
The third funding motion was requested by Drake Up ‘Til Dawn, to cover costs for their event. A total of $310.30 was requested to cover their three two-hour events and decorations. 130 students will be attending the event and will take place on Nov. 16 at 11 p.m. in Olmsted. The mission of Up ‘Til Dawn is to “fundraise for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and put on a fun and inclusive event for students.” The vote passed unanimously.
The Student Senate also filled their historian position, with Adam Koch being approved unanimously. Student Senate still has open appointed positions such as graphic designer, web designer and elections commissioners. One can contact firstname.lastname@example.org if they are interested.
Student Senate meets in Cowles Library in The Fishbowl, or Room 201, on Thursdays at 9 p.m. Students can also view the meeting at live.drake.edu/dbs/.
GRAPHICS BY HANNAH COHEN