By Elsa Spaulding
The Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC) met on Nov. 15 to vote on new legislation and officially promote a member of the Senate into a Cabinet position.
ASLC unanimously voted into effect Senate Resolution 002 (SR002). This resolution, which is officially sponsored by Senator Maxine McCuller ’21, the Feminist Student Union and the Queer Student Union, denounces and rejects several proposed restrictions to Title IX by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Policy under the Obama administration allowed for a looser definition of the term “sex” to federally protect identities excluded from the gender binary.
“Title IX, as it was written, uses the term sex,” McCuller said. “The Obama administration advised that institutions interpret the term as both biologically identified sex and broader forms of gender identity, which allows individuals more protections under Title IX.”
Now, the Department of Health and Human Services seeks to argue that “sex” refers to gender assigned at birth as opposed to gender identity.
“Restricting the term sex to mean one’s biologically assigned sex ultimately negates all the different forms of gender identity and may put LGBTQ+ students at risk” McCuller said.
In passing SR002, the ASLC seeks to formally recognize and validate people with a gender identity different from the one assigned to them at birth. Copies of the legislation will be sent to the students of Lewis & Clark College, the Title IX Coordinating team of Lewis & Clark, and the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The meeting continued with the election and confirmation of former ASLC Senator Naylor Finnerty ’19 as the governing body’s new Chief of Staff. ASLC President Violet Betters ’20 officially presented Finnerty to the ASLC as her nominee for the position.
“There’s a vacancy in cabinet for the Chief of Staff position and contingent on approval, I’d like to appoint Naylor Finnerty, a fine senator here in ASLC” Betters said.
The Chief of Staff is responsible for transcribing and publishing the minutes of each ASLC meeting and provides administrative counsel to the members of Cabinet when necessary.
Senator Hannah Posey-Scholl ’20 was elected by members of ASLC to fill the vacant senate seat and officially began her duties on Nov. 30 2018.
The Residential Swipe Ad Hoc Committee wrapped up the meeting with an important update on their discussions regarding the possibility of universal swipe access across the residential campus. Senator Jack Bishop ’21, reporting on the behalf of Ad Hoc Committee Leader and Senator Ben Seiple ’21, shared that the committee was making headway on universal swipe access to certain major common spaces.
“A lot of opinions have been expressed with few consensuses reached, but there seems to be a wider agreement on universal swipe access to certain common areas like Tamarack lounge,” Bishop said.
Concerns regarding student safety in residence halls are a major factor inhibiting student permissions for universal swipe access, but some ASLC senators argue that universal access to larger common spaces would not necessarily compromise the safety of anyone.
“Some senators want universal swipe access in order to foster a better sense of community and allow students from all corners of campus to congregate in different spaces,” Bishop said. “Access to places like Tamarack could allow this to happen safely.”
The Residential Swipe Ad Hoc Committee remains in its’ early stages, but with the administration’s approval, may be opening doors to new community building opportunities in the near future.