The Student Government Association (SGA) senate drafted a joint statement with the Faculty Senate addressing the recent Devon Lane shooting in Harrisonburg at Tuesday's meeting.

The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate read a statement during Tuesday night’s meeting that was proposed by senior Emily Butters, liaison to the Faculty Senate, on the recent Devon Lane shooting, in which eight people were injured.

The joint statement from SGA and Faculty Senate was read during the meeting for feedback to be provided by the SGA Senate. After preliminary discussion, the statement will be sent to the Faculty Senate for further revision.

“On early Sunday morning, October 16th, there was an active shooter on Devon Ln, who injured 8 community members,” the draft statement reads. “Because of the proximity to our campus and the residence of so many JMU students, we acknowledge this is a threat to our safety and well being as a JMU community. As a Student Government (faculty senate), we express our support for all those affected, as well as renew our commitment to work to ensure the safety of the JMU community.”

The statement will be the first joint statement between SGA and the Faculty Senate. Once it’s finalized, it’ll be released on Instagram and other forms of social media accompanied by resources to help members of the JMU community who were negatively impacted by the event.

“This is something I feel that we really need to speak on since it impacts the Harrisonburg community,” senior Melody Haak, SGA communications committee chair, said. “It allows us a really great opportunity to collaborate with [the] Faculty Senate.”

SGA inducts new members

The Senate inducted its newly elected members on the steps of Wilson Hall.

After reciting their oath of office, the new members of SGA were handed buttons that indicate their membership, as well as certificates signed by senior Shawdee Bakhtiari, student body president, welcoming them to the 108th Senate of JMU. 

SGA approves Student Ambassadors’ request for reserve funds

SGA unanimously voted to approve the Student Ambassadors’ (SA) request for reserve funds to finance its $139.99 purchase of a speaker. Senior Nick O’Reilly, the organization’s president, and senior Cuda Zmuda, vice president of admissions, represented SA.

Junior Mahek Shroff, SGA’s finance liaison, said SGA carves out a given amount of money from its budget for certain programs to use throughout the year. Shroff said reserve funds consist of money that wasn’t used by the organization’s that received money during previous years.

SA, made up of over 100 JMU students, provides tours to prospective students and families. 

Zmuda said having a speaker on-hand rather than asking members of the organization to bring their own speakers would be more convenient. Zmuda said the speaker will be used during events the organization participates in, such as CHOICES — a series of open house events hosted by JMU for recently admitted students throughout the first half of the spring semester.

“Student Ambassadors is incredible,” sophomore Brielle La Croix, a representative of SGA Senate, said. “It is an organization that I am a part of, and we could really use a speaker.” 


SGA approves African Student Organization’s request for program grant funds

SGA unanimously passed the African Student Organization’s request for program grant funds of $5,000 to help finance its upcoming banquet-style culture show, Taste of Africa. Junior Nina Poku-Kwateng, the organization’s event coordinator, and senior Teresa Awuah, the organization’s president, represented the organization.

Introducing the African Student Organization, Awuah said the organization aims to serve JMU’s past, present and future students and welcome those who have an interest in African culture.

Poku-Kwateng and Awuah said Taste of Africa is a showcase of African culture, cuisine, fashion, dance and music. 

The presentation said the program will be partially financed by the organization’s own fundraising efforts, like concession sales and money earned through selling jollof rice. To supplement fundraised money and meet the projected cost of the banquet, the group requested $5,000.

“I went to Taste of Africa last year and I had a blast,” sophomore Lexi Alston, senator to the College of Science and Mathematics, said. “It was a learning experience as an African American … I suggest that we give them the money and encourage everyone to go and support them.” 

SGA passes membership amendments to constitution

SGA voted unanimously to pass amendments to its constitution that would change how members of the SGA and their attendance at SGA meetings would impact their membership status.

These amendments would make the membership committee responsible for communicating with members about their attendance. Members will now have the responsibility to communicate with the SGA membership committee chair about any potential conflicts they may experience with SGA meetings or functions.

The amendments also detail a new policy that allows members to request to have their membership status changed to “inactive” for up to one semester. However, if an SGA member requests that their inactive status be extended for more than one semester, they’ll face being placed on probationary membership.

Junior Abby Canella, the SGA membership committee chair, proposed these amendments. Canella said her reasoning for proposing the amendments was to make the process of being a member of the SGA more accessible to more people.

“I love being a member of this organization,” Canella said. “I think that membership in this organization is worth it.”

Contact Eleanor Shaw at shaweo@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.