Multicultural groups fed up with Senator Smith
Last Wednesday’s student senate meeting began with a request by the coordinators of the multicultural cluster groups to have Sen. Shahriyar Smith taken off the senate or moved to another position. Smith is currently the multicultural cluster representative of the senate. Roger Wert, Co-Coordinator of Queers and Allies passed around a signed petition, which stated: “As our representative, we believe his role includes advocacy for multicultural issues and working towards an equitable campus environment. It is our belief that he does not work towards these ends.”
“We in no way feel represented by this senator,” said Wert. “We feel very much unrepresented and very much mistreated.”
In response Smith said “I have never done anything anti-cultural…I have always stood for a diversity of culture on campus.”
Wert stated that none of the multicultural groups needed to be convinced to sign the petition. “We do have a voice and we need to make it heard,” he said.
In his defense, Smith replied, “I’ve never been approached by anyone saying ‘work for us'”
Jenny Sevilla, coordinator of Las Mujeres, said she had approached Smith before and that he asked her, “Why don’t you write an article for the Spectator?”
I want a Taser
The meeting moved on to Jay Kenton, vice president of finance and administration at PSU, asking ASPSU to consider the admission of a Taser, a type of stun gun, to the weapons the Campus Public Safety police officers can carry.
“As a man of this unit I feel I need to give my employees the tools to do their jobs effectively.” said Hetton.
Mike Soto, chief of Campus Public Safety said there will be a training program for all officers.
Soto said, “I expect zero uses of the Taser”
He spoke about situations with people on campus, the majority non-students, that have the potential to move from verbal to physical confrontation.
“It took three officers to deal with a situation that got out of hand last year,” he said, referring to a certain preacher well known at PSU.
Caine Lowery, whose senate seat is still currently in dispute, said, “I am 150 percent opposed to this. I believe we have enough weapons … Tasers are just tools of torture. I’m 100 percent opposed to the weapons you already have.”
Hetton replied by saying that although Tasers do hurt, it allows the officer to deal with situations more quickly.
“We will not tolerate any abuse…we’ll never carry firearms as long as I’m vice president,” said Hetton, “I would feel remiss in my duties if I had not given them (the officers) the tools to use on campus. “
There are no plans to implement this addition to campus officers’ weapons until July.
Marino introduces possible senate appointees
Amara Marino, ASPSU president, who was absent at Wednesday’s meeting, wrote a letter to the senators introducing her two appointments for the senate, Jenny Sevilla and Eric Kamweti.
Sevilla is a sophomore majoring in Latin America Studies, and is described by Marino as being “a very active member of the Chicano/Latino community” and is a coordinator with Las Mujeres. One of her goals as student senator would be to increase student involvement and communication with student groups. Marino writes that Kamweti is coordinator of the Organization of International Studies, a SALP Multicultural Peer Advisor, and is a member of the Association of African Students and the Popular Music Board. One of Eric’s goals is to be an advocate for international students and thus “represent their interests on the student senate.”
With 25 seats on the senate only two can be appointed. With Caine Lowery’s senate position still in dispute there are three people vying for only two seats. Sevilla and Kamweti’s appointments will be considered at the next student senate meeting.