By the people, for the people: CSG weekly update

On Thursday, November 5, the Chatham Student Government held its hour-long meeting in the Conover Room. In attendance were CSG members, Dean of Students  Zauyah Waite, Director of Residence Life and Student Affairs Heather Black, and Assistant Dean of Students Mary Utter. The topics of conversation included sexual assault, issues with language, winter openings for residence halls, and the differences between new and current students.

Utter started the meeting off by talking about a sexual assault campaign called “It’s On Us.” This organization is designed to spread awareness about sexual assault. “It’s On Us” means, “It’s an environment we all create, not just victim and perpetrator,” said Utter. It is everyone’s job to help those in need. Starting next week, Chatham University and other campuses in America will support this cause and spread the word.

Utter also provided statistics such as one in five women and one in six men are sexually assaulted on college campuses. Eight in 10 victims know their attacker and only 13 percent of rape survivors report sexual assault. These compelling statistics are the reason why campaigns and organizations such as “It’s On Us” are formed. This also allows survivors to talk about their problems. Students can spread the word on social media by sending tweets, making Facebook statuses, and even changing their profile pictures to the “It’s On Us” logo.

With the winter is approaching, Black shifted the conversation to the residence hall forms. All residence hall requests to stay on campus for the winter break are due by Friday, November 5. All residence halls will be open to students for Thanksgiving break.

CSG members talked about the ways in which they can bridge the gap between new and current students. Many members of the CSG feel that there is a line between first year students and older students. They discussed trying to get events that would bring the first year students and the current students together so that no class is singled out.

The language used by students also has a major impact on students, as well.

“We are policing our words but regardless, people are going to say what they want. People talk how they want to. People should call themselves what they want,” said Chloe Bell, a representative for the Class of 2016.

Using words such as first-year instead of freshman is gender inclusive. Dean Waite said, “Once you’ve been recruited by Chatham, we say men and women [and first-year because] you have now reached a level of maturity.”

Many CSG members agreed about using the term first-year instead of freshman. They have also now agreed to use pronouns to refer to people as man and woman because girls and boys are percieved as immature.

“I wish we had these conversations naturally. Remember when Dr. McGreevey (Assistant Dean for Career Development) talked to us and said, ‘It’s not an all girl’s school, it’s an all women’s college,’” said Bell.

The room was silent and heads were nodding in agreement with Bell. CSG members, faculty, and staff would like to spread the word about using proper language when addressing people. Instead of seeing posters, Jackie Stanfield, President of the Class of 2017, said, “Seeing [the issues with language] on video is more powerful than reading it with words.”

Most CSG members agreed that someone watching the video about language is better reading about it. Some ideas were the video to be accessible on MyChatham and screened at Anderson Dining Hall and in the Carriage House.

The members ended the conversation on a positive note making the announcement that there will be a “Real Food Friday.” This allows students to have a taste of real food at the Anderson Dining Hall.

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