Student Government Discusses Controversial Topics

Gold Rush talk, being a conflict-free campus and condemning anti-Semitism


On Oct. 11, 2018, the 39th Student Senate met at Merten Hall to discuss The George, Congressman John Lewis’ Fall for the Book talk, the first Board of Visitors (BOV) meeting and a resolution to support Mason becoming a conflict-free campus.

During the public comment segment, Melanie Balog, managing editor for strategic communications, reported on The George, an online platform that provides news to the campus community. Started in February 2016, the initial subscribers were faculty and staff. The George has vastly expanded, however, and now has a readership of over 8,800 students, parents, faculty and staff.

In her executive report, President Bekah Pettine spoke about Congressman John Lewis’ graphic novel trilogy, “March,” based on his life growing up in Alabama and during the civil rights movement.

Pettine described the BOV meeting, saying, “We talked a lot about the student redesign project, which is a program Vice President [for Administration and Finance] J.J. Davis has really been working on, the advance launch between NOVA Community College and George Mason University. Basically, Advance is a partnership with NOVA and George Mason, and it helps make sure that NOVA students [who] are entered into the community college have access to [Mason’s] academic advising … [It] ensures that all of their credits will be transferred and that none of them are lost in the process.”

Pettine said that the BOV also discussed the annual budget overview for the university, along with a future housing initiative called One University, which is going to provide housing for 750 students along Ox Road.

Three pieces of legislation were passed during the meeting. R#10, a resolution to support Mason becoming a conflict-free campus, was referred to the chair of university services. R#12, a resolution to support the tradition of gold rush, was referred to Amir Mahmoud, the chair of diversity and multicultural affairs.

R#11, a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism in Fairfax, was passed after 19 swastikas were spray-painted on the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia on Oct. 6. There is surveillance evidence of the culprit, but his face was covered. With acts like this happening in our community, R#11 hopes to keep the 1200 reported Jewish undergraduate and graduate students at Mason safe. It was also referred to Mahmoud.