The ASWSU Senate is spending approximately $25,000 on a campus-wide safety project and lamps which are used to combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) for students across Pullman campus.
“One of our main priorities will always be keeping our students safe,” said Director of Safety Victoria Fitzpatrick. “Making [sure] students are aware of available resources is definitely one area we can expand in.”
During the final senate meeting of the 2020 Spring Semester, the senate approved the funding of $6,000 to purchase SAD lamps which can be checked out by students. Senators also approved funding $19,000 to the safety project.
For the safety project, $9,000 will go to adding more emergency blue lights on campus. The remaining $10,000 will be spent on bathroom resources for many stalls in various locations on campus.
Fitzpatrick said the resources will focus on domestic violence and sexual assault. The resources will include bathroom plaques that contain the domestic violence hotline number, WSU resources such as the Office of Civil Rights Compliance and Investigation, Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as Pullman community resources such as Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse.
“Since bathrooms are one of the only places victims of violence can be alone, we thought that these resources were very much necessary,” Fitzpatrick said. “We are hoping this project can help those who need it and increase awareness for those who may not know about these issues.”
She said the bathroom resources will go to 250 stalls in high traffic locations, such as the library and the CUB, allowing $40 of resources per stall.
The senate will spend about $6,000 on 120 SAD lamps available for checkout by students. Senator Oluwanifemi Shola-Dare said these lamps will help support students experiencing SAD because light therapy can help treat it. They will be available for checkout through the WSU Women*s Center, Cougar Health Services and the Office for Access and Opportunity.
“Pullman’s winter has a reputation for having dark days and even darker nights,” Shola-Dare said.
The senate also passed three resolutions during the meeting.
The first resolution calls for WSU to provide mental health resource training for all student employees. The second calls for faculty to include a zero-tolerance sexual violence policy in syllabi. The final resolution calls for WSU to increase resources for undocumented students.
“We’ve passed a ton of resolutions this year requiring or encouraging faculty to include information in their syllabi,” Shola-Dare said. “For some people that may seem trivial … even if it’s 10 percent of faculty members that actually include these resources, that’s a step in the right direction.”
Five ASWSU committee leaders were confirmed by the senate. Rhys Chapman was confirmed as chair of Issues and Forums. Mikayla Mackle was confirmed as president of the Black Student Union. Mariana Ramirez was confirmed as chair of GIVE. Aaron Burns and Ermia Butler were confirmed as cochairs of Ku-Ah-Ma.
Senators also passed a bill to have the Department of Communications send out a minimum of four ASWSU newsletters each year.
Bill 49-46, authored by Senator Connor Simmons, adds the publication of the newsletters to the list of duties that must be overseen by the director of the department.
According to the bill, the newsletter will include relevant updates on the ASWSU executive, legislative and judicial branches. Updates for the Election Board, Auxiliary Committees and other organizations will also be included, as well as a schedule of future events.
“There’s so many different moving parts within ASWSU,” Simmons said. “I wanted to provide a forum where we could give a brief recap of what we’ve been up to and what’s coming.”
The newsletters will be sent to students, staff and faculty via WSU email, he said.