USG works to better represent student body

With the Spring 2018 semester almost halfway over, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) is managing various projects and initiatives that have been a work in progress throughout the academic year.

USG Student Body President Ivy Petsinger said the Initiative Tracker, an online tool which USG implemented so students can track the progress of ongoing initiatives, is working well thus far. The “Diversity and Inclusion – Transgender Healthcare & Bathroom Access Bill,” posted on the tracker on Dec. 5, 2017 and updated Jan. 22, is underway; USG is drafting legislation.

“Gender neutral bathrooms are something we are starting to look at to get more of. [A potential] solution to this would be converting single stall bathrooms to gender neutral bathrooms,” Petsinger said. “To convert it, it’s pretty much a signage change. If it was male, adding a menstrual production dispenser. [It is] something I brought up to President Snyder in our last one on one, and hopefully we will follow up and present it to the board [of trustees].”

USG is also collaborating with CWRU staff and faculty members on responding to student feedback regarding their undergraduate experiences.

“One of the big things we’ve been putting some time and effort into is the [Provost’s Commission on Undergraduate Experience (CUE)],” she said.

CUE is a faculty-led effort to maximize the undergraduate educational and residential campus experience, and was announced in January 2016 by Provost William A. “Bud” Baeslack.

According to the Office of the Provost, “University leaders will be communicating with stakeholder groups to invite participation and share updates.”

CUE has been working with USG to make sure actions are being taken in response to undergraduate students’ needs, taking in and analyzing feedback and working through resolutional initiatives.

“[CUE] came out with the preliminary recommendations before and over the past few months, and they’ve been collecting some feedback from lots of different of constituencies and groups of students,” she said. “They’re trying to get together a more finalized version of the recommendations.”

Petsinger hopes that USG continues to collaborate with faculty and administration members in the roll out of various recommendations, especially given the upcoming provost appointment.

At the Feb. 27 USG General Assembly meeting, a survey was distributed to gain better perspective of USG’s demographics in comparison to the CWRU student body.

Petsinger noted that the survey is intended to ensure the general body is representative of the body it represents. Petsinger said the organization hopes to speak for “underrepresented and marginalized voices,” and intentionally recruit the “voices [who] aren’t at the table.”

Additional reporting by Kushagra Gupta, Director of Print.