SGA allocates funds for counseling program, hears speech on privilege

At its third meeting of the semester, the Student Government Association allocated funds for ZOOM, a tele-communications counseling service. Next week, SGA will hear from UCA President Houston Davis.

The Student Government Association met Monday night to propose and pass new motions, celebrate Black History Month and appoint a new senator. 

A motion was passed to allocate $1,200 to the counseling center in order to advance counseling to better serve students while they are away from the university, also referred to as “tele-counseling.” Senators Abby Speights and Amber DiPersia proposed the motion to ensure that students would receive counseling year-round and more frequently.

Counseling is offered to all students and is paid for in student fees. The funds will be put toward providing the university with ZOOM, a tele-communications application that will allow students to retain face-to-face interactions with their counselor, even away from campus.

Although the motion passed for the advancement of telecommunicative counseling, the counseling will only go as far as Arkansas state-lines. Counselors at UCA are licensed in the state of Arkansas, therefore, not legally allowing them to practice outside of the state. Students traveling back home internationally or to other states will not be able to receive the telecommunicative counseling due to the license restriction. 

Another motion was passed to fund $2,000 to the Emergency Aid fund and the D.A.S.H. grant. The motion was passed to help students through financial crises and issues so they can better focus on their education rather than the stress of financial issues.

Director of Professional Development and Training Charlotte Strickland gave a speech to the senate to celebrate Black History Month and motivate the senators to help others.

“Privilege is when you don’t have to think about things because those things don’t impact you,” Strickland said. “It’s very divisive and people get very defensive, but every one of us in this room have privilege in some area. I have privilege because I’m white and I’m of the majority, but sometimes when I’m at work or I’m out in the community, I don’t have privilege as a female.” 

She then began to speak on various aspects of privilege, relating to each person in the room.

“I’m an American citizen so I have privilege being an American where as some of you are from different countries, and you may not have privilege in America based on the fact that you’re from somewhere else," Strickland said. "So if we went around this room, every one of us has privilege in some areas, and in other areas we dont have privilege. And the key here is to identify what privilege you have, and it’s not to guilt you. It’s not to make you feel bad. It’s not deminish you. The key is to be aware of your privilege and to ask yourself…‘What do I do with my privilege? How do I use my privilege to help other people who don’t have privilege?... How am I using my privilege to be a voice for others?’”

Concluding her speech, Strickland said, “When I think of Black History Month, I think of Martin Luther King Jr., and one of my quotes that I think the world of when it comes to this man, who was an advocate for African Americans in the United States, ... ‘Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.’ What he’s saying is help us by leaning in, by trying to understand the perspective of that person that doesn’t have power or privilege ... As leaders, that is critical for you to do. Whatever position you have on this campus, you have some privilege and some power, but there are other students that you are advocates for, so what are you doing to better understand those other people?”

SGA unanimously passed Senate Resolution 005 proposed by the parking and safety committee. The resolution urges administration to increase parking lot safety measures. Recent parking lot incidents prompted discussion about the lack of surveillance cameras in certain parking lots on campus.

The senate also welcomed senior Cheick Kaspa. He will serve as a Senior Representative.

SGA is planning to attend the Presidential Town Hall meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Student Center 208.

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