SGA President Arielle Gedeon delegates votes with SGA Senate. - Former News Editor / Alexander Heller

Editor’s Note: This Letter to the Editor was originally sent on Sept. 11, 2020. However, it was not received by Whit staff until Sept 21, 2020. Despite the lapse in timeliness, the Student Government Association noted that it would also like to have this letter printed for the Sept. 24, 2020 issue. The Whit staff apologizes for the delay in publication of this Letter to the Editor.

Dear Rowan Students,

It has recently come to our attention that there has been misinformation spreading regarding SGA policies concerning religious observances. A recent Whit article highlighted an issue of miscommunication that took place during the 2019-2020 academic year. We hope that by providing insight into the work that was done by the 2019-2020 Executive Board, we will be able to provide clarification.

In October 2019, [Assistant Vice President] of Student Affairs Jason Brooks was made aware that events were occurring on religious holidays. Brooks took it upon himself to meet with Rowan officials to develop a plan so religious observances could be fulfilled without worry of fulfilling SGA obligations. After a Senate vote, SGA Bylaw Change 300: Policies and Procedures Related to the Executive Number 301-10 was passed. The purpose of this change was to ensure with all due diligence that major religious observations do not conflict with SGA programming, under the advice of the Division of [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion]. SGA wants it to be recognized that students observing religious obligations are excused from mandatory SGA meetings, with notice to the executive vice president within 24 hours of the meeting.

Following this change, the Executive Board and Senate passed for the removal of the AVP of Club Development and the addition of the AVP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This position is responsible for meeting with administrators within the area of DEI in order to stay informed
about the state of the division and to better relay the needs of the students. In addition, with the advocacy of SGA, the AVP of the Office of Student Equity and SGA worked to form the [Office of Student Equity and Compliance] Student Advisory Council which ensures students voices and concerns are heard.

If you feel you or someone you know has been a victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of any of the protected categories such as disability, gender identity and expression, national origin, race or ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, veteran status, genetic information and other characteristics prohibited by law please make a report to the online form found in the Reporting Student Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation tab on the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Rowan page. SGA urges students to report any type of discrimination to the Office of Student Equity and Compliance.

For questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact SGA via SGADEI@rowan.edu.

For comments/questions about this letter to the editor, email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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