The student senate discussed library and student health services on campus and introduced legislation to support renaming Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center during a hybrid in-person and Zoom session on Wednesday.
Associate Dean of Libraries Rebecca Gettys and scholarly communication librarian Amie Freeman were present and answered questions about services Thomas Cooper Library is currently offering.
In previous senate meetings, senators expressed concerns that students were unable to check out textbooks from the library due to COVID-19 protocols. Gettys said the library was concerned about how long the virus could survive on books.
The safest route to take is to quarantine library books for 72 hours, according to Gettys.
Before COVID-19, the library loaned out textbooks, of which it might only have one copy, for a few hours before quickly making them available for the next student. Virus concerns, however, have made this impossible.
“There's no way that we can loan a physical textbook in a way that makes sense. So, that physical textbook loan is not available,” Gettys said.
Library staff is working with faculty to encourage more accessible and affordable options for their required reading materials, Gettys said.
The student senate continued its efforts to create a guide of services the Student Health Center provides to students.
Student senator Morgiana McDevitt shared some of the positive experiences she's had with the Student Health Center and said she was concerned other students aren't aware of all the services provided.
“They just think you would go to the health center if you're sick, but there are so many more services than just that,” McDevitt said. "I think that providing a graphic and a campaign that's for students, by students, is really important."
Additionally, Flu Shot Day has been canceled and will instead be replaced by a campaign to encourage students to get their flu shot at the Student Health Center.
Student senator Sawyer McDuffie took to the floor to introduce legislation recommending the university change the name of Strom Thurmond Health and Fitness Center. The building is named after former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, referred to in the legislation as “a fervent segregationist.”
“I think it's an injustice to the students of this university, whose lives are still impacted to this day for the worse because of legislation that this senator passed and blocked,” McDuffie said.
McDuffie proposed, along with renaming the center, that $10,000 the Thurmond estate donated for the building’s construction should be refunded. McDuffie said he had no developed plans on how to raise money to replace the $10,000, but he said there was the possibility of finding one or more donors or a crowdfunding campaign.
“For a white person like myself, it's very easy to go into a building like that and just not think about it, but for some students — there are some students who don't even want to go to the building at all, and they're still paying for it. So, I think it's a disservice to make them go to a building like that,” McDuffie said.