Continuing the forward-looking sentiment of Spring Convocation, Santa Fe’s Student Senate on Wednesday announced programs to combat social issues within the college.
Senate announced a new mandatory online sexual harassment course and an optional rape defense program at its second meeting of the year.
The online sexual harassment course will be required for students who enroll after May and intends to tackle sexual discrimination issues that exist on campus and nationwide.
“Santa Fe is doing its best to make sure ... students are welcome here no matter what their sexual orientation or identity,” said Student Body Vice President Austin Browning.
Students already enrolled at the college will not be required to take the course, he added.
As part of Santa Fe’s goal of creating a safer campus, the college is also offering a new Rape Aggression Defense course for female students. A male version of the program is being developed and may be available this year, Browning added.
He also addressed senators about the importance of reaching out to students experiencing suicidal thoughts in light of the three Santa Fe students who committed suicide during Fall.
“These people had friends,” he said. “They had family, and we could have prevented their acts of suicide if we only had the proper training.”
He added that seminar courses on suicide prevention are available to students.
Senators also unanimously elected academic senators Shannon Lewis, Christopher Hall and Leane Bonello.
Bonello said her English professor recommended her to run as an English representative.
While Bonello admitted, “I really don’t know what I’m doing here,” she said she is excited about being a new senator and hopes to create a literary night for students.
Lewis and Hall wanted to join Senate after attending several Senate meetings. They both felt that senators were not taking enough initiative to address issues important to students.
“It was like watching an episode of Degrassi,” Hall said. “I was like, ‘Yo, where is our productiveness?’ So I’m saying, ‘You know what? If you’re going to complain about it, either you just shut up or you do something about it.’”
[A version of this story ran on page 3 on 1/15/2015 under the headline “SFC Student Senate adds 3 senators, new harassment course"]