What’s Happening in Senate?

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

In the last senate meeting, PGSG senators passed two key resolutions in recognition of the safety and well-being of all members of the Purdue community.

Purdue’s graduate student senate, which currently comprises of student representatives from 53 different departments across campus, meets every month. In our senate meetings, student representatives and the PGSG Executive Board discuss key issues pertinent to graduate students’ welfare. The second senate meeting of the fall 2020 semester was held on 9/30/2020. Two important resolutions were proposed and discussed over a period of one and a half hours during this meeting and ratified by a majority of the senate.

The first resolution passed by the senate provides a strong voice against racism at Purdue and stands in solidarity with the different anti-racism movements that have taken place at Purdue, including the recent #BlackAtPurdue. This resolution notes that the concerns put forward by these movements and protests are yet to be completely addressed by Purdue’s administration. Key provisions of the resolution include- the inclusion of the history of American race relations in the core curriculum at Purdue and the adoption of short- and long-term goals by the Purdue administration for increasing African American and LatinX students’ representation on campus. The legislation also asks the Purdue administration to take stronger and quicker actions when informed about racial bigotry on campus. The complete resolution in support of #BlackAtPurdue which was ratified by the Senate can be found HERE.

Amongst the many uncertainties of COVID-19, the partial or complete closure of Purdue has been of primary concern for many graduate students. While Purdue’s “Protect Purdue” plan has created a positive learning environment for everyone, the number of COVID-19 cases at Purdue is rising steadily with an overall positivity rate of 2.85% (Source: https://protect.purdue.edu/dashboard). At the 30th September senate meeting, Purdue University’s Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity, Jay Akridge (Ph.D.), provided an overview of the campus-wide policy changes that have been initiated with respect to COVID-19 and how they have been received by the Purdue community. He highlighted how the compulsory face-mask policy and flu shot requirement for those on campus have been received positively by the Purdue community. Provost Akridge also shared that 9,000 isolation beds [on-campus and off-campus] have been identified to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Dean of College of Pharmacy, Erin Barker (Ph.D.), highlighted the successful distribution of wellness kits to all Purdue members and the changes made to physical learning spaces to facilitate social distancing, including the set-up of temporary shelters. In his responses to senators’ questions, Provost Akridge indicated that there have been internal discussions to utilize spaces such as the Co-Rec or the Armory building as alternatives to current outer learning spaces, especially for the Spring semester. Finally, Provost Akridge indicated that while the Protect Purdue team is planning for the possibility of a major outbreak on campus, no plans have been finalized.

By ratifying the “Campus Closure Criteria Resolution”, the graduate senate is asking the Purdue administration to establish clear criteria for campus closure at the earliest date possible so as to enable students, staff, faculty, and the Greater Lafayette community to make future plans with greater ease. The resolution recognizes that setting exclusive criteria for closure is hard in these unprecedented times and asks the Purdue Administration to develop and release a set of non-exclusive criteria detailing potential situations when the campus would cease in-person activities. The complete resolution on campus closure criteria which was ratified by the Senate can be found HERE.

Graduate Senate meetings take place once every four weeks [Wednesdays @ 6 pm) and the third meeting for fall 2020 is currently scheduled for October 28th. All graduate students are invited to join us for the senate meeting. Please register to join the next senate meeting. For more information on how to join graduate student senate meetings, the senate schedule, earlier minute meetings, and legislation/resolutions, please refer to this link: https://www.purduegradstudents.com/senate Have any thoughts that you would like to share with us? Write to us at pgsg.pro@gmail.com or submit your comments anonymously HERE

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