By Adithi Iyer
The 18th Undergraduate Senate held its 15th meeting on Nov. 29, discussing at length a bill to initiate a wellness requirement for undergraduate students. The Senate also once again discussed recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day and bringing the sexual assault reporting service Callisto to campus.
Eleanor Collier ’16 submitted a bill to incorporate wellness into the undergraduate curriculum to help students cope with stress.
“I was actually just at a research symposium talking about wellness education,” Collier said, highlighting the proposal’s roots in current education research. “There’s research showing that how long you engage in these practices and spend time in the classroom [on wellness education] matters.”
Co-sponsored by Senators Jayaram Ravi ’19 and Khaled Aounallah ’19, the bill made a general recommendation about undergraduate wellness education, leaving the implementation details open to further discussion. During their conversation, Senators raised the possibility of a wellness-focused new student orientation (NSO) event for students, as well as small-scale programs surrounding wellness education on campus as approval at the faculty and administration levels were deemed unlikely.
After discussing possible measures at length, the Senate moved to table their decision until they finalized a plan of action.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day
The Senate continued their discussion of a resolution to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day, which was first introduced during their Oct. 26 meeting.
The Senate bill comes in the wake of a nationwide movement that has criticized Columbus Day for allegedly celebrating the enslavement of Native American communities by Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus. The Senate tabled the resolution for further discussion.
Callisto One-Year Pilot
Amid increasing mobilization by on-campus sexual assault awareness and prevention programs, Senate chair Shanta Katipamula ’19 authored a bill proposing the implementation of Callisto, an online sexual assault reporting service, for a one-year pilot run on campus.
Senators passed the proposal to initiate the pilot program at Stanford after initial concerns about cost, noting that Callisto founder Jess Ladd had tested and researched the service thoroughly.
Callisto offers several changes to the current sexual assault reporting system. For one, victims of abuse are allowed to write reports on their own and then decide whether or not to actually file them. Additionally, the victim can choose to only have the assault report refiled if there have been other reports filed against the perpetrator.
The Senate also passed a motion to confirm a list of appointees to the Nomination Committee.