The Daily Gamecock

Student senate meets virtually to discuss free speech, library textbook concerns

The student senate discussed public budgets, efforts to maintain library resources for students and a panel discussing freedom of speech in Wednesday evening's senate meeting.

After two weeks of conducting hybrid meetings both in-person and virtual, this week’s meeting was conducted entirely online. 

One of the issues addressed was that students cannot check out textbooks from the library. Students who would normally use the library as a textbook resource have instead had to purchase or rent their books from other sources.

Sections of the library are “completely blocked off, so right now, they're trying to figure out a way where students can still check out books, possibly online," according to student senator Alex Hunter. 

Additionally, the university's “Flu Shot Day,” designed to give students access to flu shots, on Sept. 30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be changing locations. Originally planned to take place at Davis Field I, the proximity to Russel House’s outdoor dining was an issue. Instead, planners moved the event to Davis Field II, but this brings the event into conflict with saliva testing that currently takes place there. 

“They do have to see if the S.A.F.E. COVID testing will give us the date and time that was originally planned,” student senator Morgiana McDevitt said. "If not, we will to push the event back ... or pick a different day."

The student senate also approved a resolution to repeal the South Carolina Heritage Act, which requires the state legislature to approve the renaming process for buildings and historical markers. 

The resolution, which had been brought forward by student senator McKenzi Norris at last week’s session, also supports renaming several buildings on campus, including Sims and Wade Hampton residence halls and the Strom Thurmond Center. 

“By repealing the Heritage Act, USC and other local communities would be able to make their own decisions about what public monuments they want on their property,” Norris said.   

The student senate also approved "a recommendation to require Associated Students Organizations to publicize their budgets." The recommendation is part of a push for greater transparency for organizations that receive funding through student activity fees, according to the recommendation.

Student Body President Issy Rushton spoke to the senate about a forum to take place with student organizations and experts on freedom of speech and its effect on public institutions.

“I think that'll be a really educational aspect for all of our students on our campus, but we'll be particularly targeting student organizations in that respect,” Rushton said. 


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