The Daily Gamecock

Mask mandate discussion, executive session dominate student senate meeting

Introducing a bill to end USC's mask mandate in university buildings was the main point of tension during the student senate's Feb. 9 meeting. 

“It was just observation that people are just generally done with all these precautions because there's been no sign of easing. We all are old enough to remember when life wasn't this way and we cherished it and we start to look back at those memories,” Griffin Sheffield, a third-year religious studies and economics student and co-sponsor of the bill, said. 

Sheffield also spoke about autonomy and the ability to make risk assessments to students as opposed to leaving those choices up to the administration. 

“Almost every single student takes off their mask when they're not in class. I mean, that's, I don't need a statistic to prove it. We all know it's true. It just happens consistently,” said student senator Jesus Guerrero, co-sponsor of the bill and a second-year international business and economics student. 

Not all student senators agreed with the contents of the bill.

“People want bodily autonomy. I think that's a great point of debate, but I think at the same time — removing the mask mandate — I think it’s just a terrible idea in the first place,” student senator Emily Giep, a second-year biology and history major, said. 

The proposed recommendation was referred to the health and safety and student life committees for further discussion.

The student senate went into executive session — which is not open to the public or press and only attended by student senators — to discuss a bill about impeachment and accountability that had been tabled last week.

The bill proposed student conduct violations can be grounds for impeachment and that students show any student conduct violations to the faculty advisor for the student senate within 10 days. 

The Student Government executive members and faculty advisor also attended the session. 

“So first off, I just want to say that it's not an impeachment bill. It is an accountability and conduct bill," second-year international business student Noah Glasgow, a co-sponsor of the bill, said. "It's mostly about protecting us as senators and ensuring that we hold ourselves to a higher level of accountability because we are student leaders, and we're elected or are appointed to serve in a position where we represent students." 

The bill passed unanimously, but conversations surrounding Student Government accountability are to continue in future weeks, according to Glasgow.