Wilson and Sanchez’s SGA promises met with Ida setbacks


Hannah Darcey

Senators listen to a presentation during an SGA senate meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 in Monroe Hall. SGA President and Vice President Deon Wilson and Tyler Sanchez’s plans for SGA have been met with setbacks caused by Hurricane Ida.

In the spring semester of 2021, Student Government Association President Deon Wilson and Vice President Tyler Sanchez ran with a 3-point campaign that emphasized transparency, student engagement, and accessibility. They went on to win the election and are now halfway through their tenure with SGA.
Regarding the progress they’ve made thus far, Sanchez said, “Ida definitely threw a wrench in our plans and how we had certain things laid out to work.” However, he said that despite the setbacks, “we’ve done a lot.”

One of the structural points in the Wilson-Sanchez campaign was transparency. According to Sanchez, SGA is actively working towards that goal, as it is a process.
“It’s not just a flip that we can switch on or off, but instead being intentional with the creation of our website and materials,” he said.
Although the SGA Instagram account hasn’t been active this semester, it will be next semester, according to College of Arts and Sciences Senator Analene McCullough. The account will also feature a newly revived social media initiative called “Tip Tuesdays” with tips and tricks about various areas of Loyola to better inform students.
Sanchez said SGA is actively working with Director of Communications Asha Altemus to improve accessibility and close the gap between the student body and themselves. They plan to do this with an SGA website that will house the names of all senators and university rules, according to Sanchez.
McCullough said that the SGA website is in progress and will “hopefully be ready in January.” She said the website will also be home to the SGA Hub office hours, so students can inform SGA of any concerns they may have.
“(Student) engagement is needed in order to properly represent the student body,” she said.

Sanchez said SGA has been working to engage the student body in various ways, such as allocating funds to clubs and organizations in need of support.
“We are working with our senators to create compelling and impactful events that activate different areas of our campus community,” he said.
SGA has worked exclusively with the University Programming Board to promote student engagement on campus, according to McCullough. UPB is overseen by Director of Programming Faith Hogg and is allotted $37,000 of SGA’s budget.
In their October newsletter, Wilson said, “With Covid-19 and Hurricane Ida, our virtual and distant worlds have changed our lives drastically. Our hope is to strengthen relationships with commuter connectivity, student relations, and alumni relations.”
Although SGA works alongside UPB to boost student engagement, it is unclear what they have done to increase commuter connectivity and alumni relations.

Another focal point in Wilson and Sanchez’s campaign was to increase accessibility.
“To my knowledge, I’m one of the first openly disabled people in SGA, at least for a while, and I’m the chairman for the disability committee, which is new this semester,” said McCullough. The disability committee grew from SGA’s facilities and services committee which handled accessibility issues previously, but “not everything is a facilities issue,” she said.
Through her newly-created position, McCullough said that she has passed a bill urging the university to select a different “rain location” for events in the peace quad that do not have handicapped parking spaces.
Senator Joseph Pitre passed the Accessibility and Lumination Audit to urge the facilities and maintenance plant to do an audit of the campus’ lights and door buttons to ensure that they are working properly.
One goal Wilson had in their initial campaign was to revive the Ignition Program, which was a program that provided free textbooks by working with the Office of Institutional Advancement.
Recently, SGA passed a textbook scholarship called the Pursuit of Excellence scholarship for students to receive $300 for textbooks; however, this was not related to reviving the Ignition Program, but created through the efforts of Senator-at-Large Patrice Roberts.
In their campaign, Sanchez specifically mentioned working to have more accessible menstrual products on campus.
Earlier this semester, the College of Music and Media announced that there would be menstrual products in the Communications/Music Complex restrooms. However, this was done with the work of mass communication professor Lisa Collins, not an SGA initiative.
To this, Sanchez said, “The plan is for the university to provide menstrual hygiene products in all campus restrooms, including Broadway, but once again, Ida set that back.” Sanchez said that he’s hopeful that by the end of the semester, SGA will have made some headway regarding this issue.
In addition, Sanchez said that he also made recommendations to the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee on the lack of gender neutral bathrooms, but so far, no progress has been made.
Sanchez said that this is another setback caused by the hurricane because maintenance is needed across campus, but the immediate needs are being met before the long-term needs.

What’s next?
“My goals are to make sure that more people’s voices are being heard on this campus,” McCullough said, adding, “Now that we all have a semester under our feet, I hope that we can get a lot more done.”
SGA is also compiling a mid-year report of their accomplishments and plans for next semester, according to SGA Chief of Staff, Robert Morrison III. The release date of this document is still being decided, said Sanchez.

Ava Acharya contributed to this article.