The Associated Students of the University of Nevada held a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7, to discuss recent events that occurred on campus related to hate and discrimination. The town hall was held in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms.
More than 100 students, faculty and administration attended the Senate meeting and guided discussion on sexual assault, racial and religious discrimination related to anti-semitic acts that have occurred on campus and documents of Tau Kappa Epsilon’s depicting violence and sexual assault.
ASUN sent out an email on Monday, Nov. 5, expressing how Senators wished to hear student opinions and potential solutions at the town hall.
“This is important to ASUN because we serve you, the entire student body, and aim to make decisions in your best interest and alongside your ideas,” ASUN said in the email. “We welcome anyone and everyone to this meeting and look forward to contributing ideas to make our campus as safe and inclusive as possible.”
Students voice opinions on hateful acts at UNR
Speaker of the Senate Anthony Martinez began the town hall by reminding Senators to listen to commentators and take their opinions and views into consideration.
Martinez added the issues being addressed could be sensitive for some audience members and reminded individuals counseling services were available.
“We are here to listen,” Martinez said. “We are here for you.”
Nora Prochaska was the first speaker of many to discuss social issues affecting campus.
Prochaska told the Senate, to her knowledge, no one on campus that has been accused of rape has been expelled which has created an environment where sexual assault and violence is accepted on campus.
Prochaska said perpetrators should be punished and the university needs to reconsider policies. Prochaska added anti-semitic incidents are increasing on campus because “Nazis” feel safe on campus.
“Change policies,” Prochaska said. “We as students can make sure Nazis and rapists don’t feel safe.”
Tyler Parry supported Prochaska and addressed the Senate and President Marc Johnson, calling them out for not addressing rape and anti-semitic acts correctly.
Parry said during his time at the university homophobia, racism and antisemitism have become acceptable on campus.
“It is time that the ASUN represents its student body,” Parry said. “Beatings? Killings? Where will we draw the line on this issue?”
An unnamed source submitted a statement to Senator Hannah Hudson to address the Nevada Sagebrush article addressing Tau Kappa Epsilon’s songs describing rape culture.
The source said the Nevada Sagebrush reporters did not do their job addressing all sides of fraternity and sorority life and shined a negative light on TKE. The source further wrote no current members should be punished for their affiliation and the songs do not reflect members of TKE. The source added TKE has been instrumental in helping organize philanthropy events for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Jessica Wamsley, an ASUN intern, responded to the statement saying the article revealed material that was disgusting and has been normalized on college campuses.
Despite the songs being affiliated with TKE, sorority and fraternity members said it is a negative reflection on all Greek life. Lambda Chi Alpha’s president Cyrus Ghaffari said ASUN should increase awareness of these issues and resources available to students.
President of Hillel of Northern Nevada student board Dominic Giannini attended the meeting with members and addressed how UNR has failed to provide support for the Jewish community on campus. Hillel of Northern Nevada is a Jewish oriented group serving college students in Northern Nevada and focused mainly in Reno.
Giannini said since there has not been appropriate action taken there cannot be change in the community which has led to increasing anti-semitic acts.
Senator Natasia Mata addressed the Senate as a student and condemned homophobia, transphobia, racism and antisemitism on campus. Mata added faculty should respond to the issues recently brought to light on campus.
After making a statement, Mata said students approached them and thanked Mata for standing up. Mata addressed the Senate saying it is not a place for them to be thanked but that they are doing their job and representing student voices on campus.
Martinez then asked the community to provide recommendations of what actions can be taken next to better address the issues.
Students and community members voiced that ASUN and the university reach out to the Jewish communities on campus to reassure them they are welcomed on campus.
Students also said TKE should be removed from campus and to keep each other accountable of acts and material that reinforces rape culture.
President Jackson addresses public comments
ASUN President Hannah Jackson said the comments of students and community members should be acknowledged and thanked those who came and voiced their opinions.
In response to a swastika being carved on the wall in Peavine Hall, President Jackson attended a Peavine Hall floor meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 30. President Jackson said it was apparent that there was not enough knowledge of resources related to safety, sexual assault, counseling and Title IX on campus. She added ASUN will be working with Inkblot to make an advertisement to get information of resources out to students.
Jickling encourages Senators to attend Student Food Services event
Director of Sustainability Sierra Jickling encouraged senators to attend an event co-hosted by the Sustainability Department, Pack Provisions and Student Food Services. The event is dedicated to teaching students how to use food resources and cook meals using basic ingredients.
In response to public comments, Jickling asked senators to reflect on the comments made today by the student body and to practice compassion.
ASUN allocates money to Campus Escort, Center for Student Engagement, Event Programming
ASUN Senators voted to allocate $32,000 to services on campus that benefit students.
Senator Hayden Grant said by allocating funds to Campus Escort, the Center for Student Engagement and the Department of Event Programming, it would benefit student outreach and opportunities for students.
Campus Escort operating line was given approximately $7,000. The Center for Student Engagement was given $10,000 and the Department of Event Programming was given the remaining $15,000.
Andrew Mendez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.