Wayne State’s Student Senate met on Thursday to elect new project group chairs and discuss hate incidents on campus.
Following the recent Senate election, the Senate voted on who would take over the Public Health, Mental Health and Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion project groups.
Senator at Large Vansh Bhardwaj was elected as Public Health Project Group chair. Bhardwaj said after being on the project group last semester as a non-senator, he is excited to lead new initiatives as well as continue existing ones.
“One of the initiatives I would like to work on is making sure the new spaces we have coming onto campus have ergonomical places to study that are comfortable so that people feel more welcome on campus and don’t feel like they have to go home or off-campus to study,” Bhardwaj said.
Bhardwaj said he would like to get more non-senators involved with the project group this upcoming school year.
Secretary Sheva Khaimov was re-elected as Mental Health Project Group chair. Khaimov said the project group prided itself on its organizational skills and keeping up with initiatives during the last term.
“My biggest accomplishment was the Vaping Education and Student Health Initiative which I’d obviously like to continue,” Khaimov said. “I’d also like to start another initiative bringing in professors to talk about different areas of mental health.”
Khaimov said they would like to hold meetings for the project group more frequently in the upcoming term.
Treasurer Ridaa Khan was elected as Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion chair. Khan said she would like to increase student involvement with the Window Magazine project, a submission based student magazine started by the JEDI project group.
“I would like to continue working on constantly putting out issues,” Khan said. “I think now is a good time for me to sort of mesh Window Magazine with other JEDI initiatives.”
Khan said she also wants to address inter-community issues that come with having a diverse campus.
Senator at Large and Vice President of WSU Muslim Coalition Zaynah Jadallah gave an update on the April 19 incident, where the Clevend Street Preachers stepped on a Quran, invaded Muslim student’s personal space and made Islamophobic comments.
Jadallah said the Muslim Coalition had a meeting with President M. Roy Wilson to discuss the most recent incident and brainstorm solutions to problems Muslim students face on campus.
“We were promised by the president that within two weeks he would give out a news statement condemning the specific acts that happened like throwing the Quran and stepping on it and calling us devil worshipers,” Jadallah said.
Jadallah said she would like the statement to be less about what students should or shouldn’t do in response but rather focus on the hate speech. Because the university often receives advance notice of groups protesting, Jadallah said she feels students should be notified ahead of time as well.
“What they can do is email us beforehand and then we can reserve the Gullen Mall area so they won’t be able to use that space. As students we would have priority over non student groups,” Jadallah said.
Jadallah said although this wouldn’t prevent hate groups from coming to campus, it could prevent them from occupying high traffic areas.
The next Senate meeting will be held June 1 at 6 p.m. in Student Center Ballroom AB.
Theresa De Benedetti is The South End's News Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by Christian Hanks.