Generation Action, Elections, and Printing: A Student Government Update

Emily Bass

At the Student Government meeting on January 16, Budget and Clubs Board (BCB) and Generation Action met with the Student Government to discuss why Generation Action was not approved as a club. Because Generation Action was not granted club status, they could not book rooms on campus, table in Commons, or receive funding. When this happens and a club appeals, Student Government takes a vote and has the last say in the decision. BCB originally denied Generation Action this status as a result of their connection to Planned Parenthood. The constitution states that clubs cannot be affiliated with an organization outside of the college, as clubs must have local autonomy and therefore be able to regulate themselves without direction from an outside organization. BCB was concerned that Generation Action was too connected to Planned Parenthood, and BCB did not want to make the decision of robbing Generation Action of this affiliation with Planned Parenthood. BCB cited work at other schools, like Bowdoin, where there are clubs that advocate for reproductive rights but have no affiliation with Planned Parenthood. BCB also feared that, were they to make Generation Action a club, other outside organizations could try to make a club on our campus, potentially including hate groups.
Generation Action wants to become a club so that they can host more events on campus, and they are the only group on campus having these open conversations about reproductive justice. The organization does not receive any funding from Planned Parenthood, and any money they raise will not go to Planned Parenthood. One of the goals of Generation Action is to provide vending machines around campus with Plan B and similar health services so that students could have access to them on the weekends. They hope to mobilize students to work with the health center to make Plan B and STD testing free resources for students. Student Government took a unanimous vote to grant Generation Action club status on campus.
Additionally on 1/16, Student Government discussed the election system currently in place, since annual re-election may not allow students to learn the skills that make Student Government at Bates effective. We are hoping to develop restructural plans for this throughout the rest of the year.
At our meeting on 1/23, we discussed the continuous issues surrounding on-campus parking. Some suggestions included not allowing first-years to bring their cars and adding a warning system to the ticket process. If we were to prohibit first-years from having cars, we would need to expand the shuttle system around Lewiston to ensure that students can get where they need to go. We also discussed student concerns related to the gym hours at Bates, and many representatives argued that a 5:30am opening time would benefit students rather than the current 6am time in place. Representatives in Student Government plan to meet with the necessary faculty to discuss the plausibility of this change. We appointed two additional representatives to the Library and Information Services Committee, and discussed the difficulty students have had finding working printers this year. In order to address that issue, we talked about the prospect of
being able to look online to see which printers were currently working. Overall, we hope to be engaged in the conversations to improve the printing services.