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SGC hears from the Office of Public Safety and discusses senator involvement bill

Elyse+Nepa%2C+assistant+director+of+Clery+Act+compliance+%26+prevention+education%2C+shared+how+the+feedback+SGC+gave+OPS+in+Spring+2023+helped+shape+and+improve+their+community+engagement+efforts+for+2024.%0A
Maddy Tanzman
Elyse Nepa, assistant director of Clery Act compliance & prevention education, shared how the feedback SGC gave OPS in Spring 2023 helped shape and improve their community engagement efforts for 2024.

The Ithaca College Student Governance Council met March 4 to have dinner with the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management and discuss a bill presented by the Campus Affairs Committee about senator involvement on committees. 

The faculty members of OPS introduced themselves to start the dinner. In attendance during the dinner were Scott Garin, executive director of OPS and Tom Dunn, associate director and deputy chief of patrol and security services, among other staff members.

Elyse Nepa, assistant director of Clery Act compliance and prevention education, shared how the feedback SGC gave OPS in Spring 2023 helped shape and improve their community engagement efforts for 2024.

“One of the ideas that you all brought to the table was to do less programs [and have] more of a targeted population [for community engagement], and that actually worked,” Nepa said. “Last semester, [OPS] connected with over 1,700 students [in] a matter of four months [through] our programs.” 

Nepa also mentioned the next steps for the app ALERTUS, where public safety will be able to send out push emergency notifications on all Ithaca College computers. Nepa said the alert would be able to be seen all across campus. 

“If you are in a classroom and everyone’s phones are away [or] on silence, [and] you’re paying attention to your professor, in the event of an emergency, the emergency notification will go across the computer and all of our digital display boards across campus as well,” Nepa said. 

Nepa then gave more information for events that OPS hosted like the IC runs Purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Nepa said that with each year, the amount of money raised at the event grows, and she hopes that trend will continue in 2024. 

“[OPS] was trying to figure out a way to connect with more students and provide our crime prevention and security awareness programs, sexual violence programs [and] community engagement,” Nepa said. “We just wanted to be able to extend our reach.”  

Following Nepa’s announcements about the contributions the council made and events the OPS hosts, the council was given a tour of the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management. 

After the tour, the council resumed their meeting and heard from the Campus Affairs Committee about a new bill the committee is attempting to pass, the Senator Involvement bill. The proposed bill would require each senator on the council to join at least one committee. The purpose of the bill was to arrange laws for senators and the committees that they are required to join. Right now, senators are not required to join a specific committee. 

The presentation featured senator positions and the required committee that they would join if the bill was passed. Positions like First-Generation Senate and International Senate would be assigned to the Social Justice and Sustainability Committee, and the Senator-at-Large positions are assigned to the Appropriations Committee under the bill. 

Some senators suggested that there are conflicts, like time and personal interest, with being assigned to a committee instead of choosing one. 

Senior School of Business Senator Utkarsh Maini said the language in the bill should be changed from required tostrongly suggestedbecause of the pressure it puts on the senator.

“[Senators] might feel required to be a part of social justice, while they’re more interested in appropriations,” Maini said. “Strongly suggest [is flexible compared to ‘required’].”

First-Generation Senator and first-year student LaRon Pigford said the senator’s assignments to committees on the bill felt like they were based on what was available and not the relevance to the position of the senator.

In response, sophomore Rishabh Sen, vice president of campus affairs, said the purpose of the bill was to avoid overcrowding in specific committees and to guarantee that each committee has enough involvement from senators. 

“The number one reason SGC committees die out, which is what happened to the Social Justice and Sustainability Committee years ago, is there’s just no membership, right?” Sen said. “Nobody’s taking charge, nobody’s in the community. And the idea of codifying that [ensures that there is involvement with the committee].” 

Class of 2026 Senator Asata Rothblatt made a motion to table the bill and to let the Campus Affairs Committee revise the bill based on amendments the council made. The motion was passed with seven in favor, zero abstaining and six opposed. 

Sen, who is a member of the Campus Affairs Committee (CAC), then suggested council members reach out and let him know any amendments they would make to the bill and if there are any personal issues they have with the bill. 

Sophomore Senate Chair Nikki Sutera said the council will be rediscussing the bill once the committee has time to make amendments and edit. 

“We will definitely be looking at this again once CAC has the opportunity to go and make amendments and edit. If you have anything else to suggest for [the week after break] please [reach out to Rishabh],” Sutera said.

The SGC is the sole representative body for the Ithaca College student community. The SGC can be contacted at [email protected].

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