Child poverty program, absence policy and campus trees discussed at SGA meeting


Rebecca Turnbull

Student Body President Duncan Waugaman speaks to the Student Government Association Tuesay at SGA’s meeting.

A representative for the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition spoke to the Student Government Association Tuesday about bringing “Our Children, Our Future,” a campaign to end childhood poverty to Marshall University.

The representative, Katie Wright, said the campaign uses policy work, advocacy work, grassroots organizing and education to address the poverty epidemic. Wright asked the senate to consider opening a student chapter at Marshall and said that doing so could open up internship and scholarship opportunities for students involved.

“There’s one at WVU, there’s one at West Virginia State, one at Wesleyan and one at Concord,” Wright said. “As the new person, I was like ‘Why aren’t we at Marshall? That doesn’t make sense.’”

President pro tempore Alex O’Donnell presented a resolution that would revise the excused absences policy to excuse students with children whose school has been cancelled or delayed.

O’Donnell said this resolution stemmed from a student facing this issue during the January snowstorm.

“She was looking for an excused absence and she was denied because the excused absence policy does not cover cancellations of a child’s school,” O’Donnell said.

According to O’Donnell, the resolution is a recommendation to the budget and academic policy committee to look into revising the excused absences policy to include individuals who may experience this problem.

A resolution presented by Sen. Ethan Higginbotham to replace the gingko trees in front of the science building with walnut trees was approved. According to Higginbotham, the trees are abhorred by students and faculty in the science building due to their vomit-like odor.

Additionally, Higginbotham said the current trees present a biodiversity concern for insects, birds and squirrels.

“It doesn’t really hurt the squirrels, but it’s not ideal for their diet,” Higginbotham said. “There’s only one species of insect that can live in these trees and birds will not see a habitat in these trees, so that’s also a concern.”

Alex O’Donnell spoke on the behalf of vice president Isabelle Rogner, reading a message from her to the senate. In the message, Rogner offered an update on the bus system proposal, which said that she and Veterans and Diversity Affairs liaison, Keith Schemel have been offered 15 minutes to present the bus system proposal to the senior vice presidents and university president, Jerry Gilbert.

Jared Casto can be contacted at [email protected]