The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate passed a statement condemning the killing of Tyre Nichols, a resolution arguing for the addition of naloxone in residence halls and approved contingency funds for Filipino Americans of Madison and Young Americans for Freedom.
SGA condemns killing of Tyre Nichols
SGA read a statement written by sophomore Lexi Alston, SGA senator, on the recent killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, who died three days after being beaten on Jan. 7.
According to The New York Times, Tyre Nichols was killed by excessive force from police officers that were part of the Memphis Police Department‘s Scorpion unit. According to a Jan. 29 article from the NPR, Memphis has since disbanded the Scorpion unit. Nichols’ death has brought about mass protests and reforms.
“On behalf of the James Madison University Student Government Association, we would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the family, friends, and communities around the world and on our own campus affected by the recent killing of Mr. Tyre Nichols,” the statement reads. “We as a Student Government Association have taken an oath to serve all students of the James Madison University community, and would like to make it known that we stand against police brutality in any way, shape and form.”
The statement’s author invited the SGA Senate to condemn the violence and support those in the JMU community who have been impacted.
“We would be the first organization at JMU to make a statement, but we would not be the first organization in the country to make a statement,” Alston said. “We can all agree what happened to him was not OK … Us making this statement may speak on behalf of other orgs.”
SGA passes resolution to put naloxone in residence halls
The Senate unanimously approved a resolution stating its support for installing naloxone in JMU residence halls. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan, is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
“The Student Government Association of James Madison University believes that Narcan should be available in all on-campus residence halls, as well as resources on proper administration,” the resolution stated.
The resolution was submitted by senior Emily Butters, liaison to the Faculty Senate, in conjunction with senior Melody Haak, SGA communications committee chair, and senior Shawdee Bakhtiari, student body president.
“I think Narcan is a good drug to have here on campus because people do choose to do recreational drugs,” Butters said. “Instead of being in the Health Center, it will be in a more accessible spot.”
According to the resolution, naloxone would be beneficial because residence halls are potential overdose sites and would provide students with “adequate resources on the signs and symptoms of an opiate overdose.” The presence of Narcan would also create more opportunities for education, training and instruction opportunities, according to the resolution.
“When my mom came to JMU, one of her friends died from an overdose,” sophomore Kathryn Manico, president of the 2025 class council said. “I think this could save a life.”
Junior and senator Parker Boggs encouraged the SGA Senate to “get something done and pass this.”
SGA approves contingency funds
The Senate unanimously approved $750 in contingency funds for Filipino Americans of Madison’s (FAM), an organization on campus that aims to unite Filipinos and members of other cultures and spread greater appreciation for Filipino culture. FAM was represented by sophomore Victoria Nicole Beverage, the organization’s treasurer.
The funds will finance the conference fees for both the Winter Classics flag football event on Feb. 11 and the Culture Show on April 15. The Culture Show happens every spring semester, Beverage said. FAM produces, writes, directs and hosts the show. The show promotes Filipino culture, Beverage said, and does so through dances, music and skits for the JMU community to learn more about Filipino culture.
“This is an opportunity for us to do something that our parents grew up doing,” Beverage said.
Beverage said the charitable flag football tournament — hosted by the University of Virginia’s (U.Va.) organization of Young Filipino Americans — is a nonprofit opportunity for members of FAM to interact with like-minded students from other universities.
“Collaborating with other schools is part of what FAM stands for,” Beverage said.
FAM has fundraised money through football concessions at JMU football games, food fundraisers, membership fees and merchandise.
“I personally am a part of FAM, and Winter Classics is a great way to connect to other schools and the Culture Show helps us spread Filipino culture,” sophomore and senator Katie Navarro said.
The Senate also unanimously approved a $3,000 contingency fund for the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) organization. Boggs, the organization’s founder and chairman, said YAF is an “advocacy” organization that advocates for views but doesn’t “align with a political party.” According to its website, YAF creates a presence for the Conservative Movement on college campuses.
Senators C Jasper and Butters, both seniors, abstained from voting.
“I encourage you to vote pro on this because it sounded like they are well prepared,” junior Marlena Kozlowski, university services chair, said.
Boggs said YAF organizes speaking engagements, which include speakers and town halls to encourage and facilitate free speech on campus.
“We do a lot of speaking engagements on campus,” Boggs said. “They let free speech flow on the college campus.”
YAF put $5 dues in place during the Spring semester to raise money but has been unable to fundraise money because of the novelty of their organization. The money will go toward financing a lecture taught by Liz Wheeler, commentator and host of The Liz Wheeler Show — a conservative political commentary show and podcast, according to the show’s website. The lecture will be open to the general public and the date has yet to be set.
The $3,000 will finance the speaker fee, while YAF will cover the remaining $250 of the estimated cost of the events.
“I think that we should vote ‘yes’ because I believe that … we understand where the money is going,” junior Matt Haynicz, SGA representative, said.
CORRECTION: Feb. 2, 2023, 1:00 p.m. — A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the SGA statement condemning the killing of Tyre Nichols was read three days after he died, when the article meant to say Nichols died three days after being beaten on Jan. 7. The article has been updated for clarity.