Student Assembly Passes Bill to Create a Working Group to Address Biased Speech on Herrd – The Heights

The Student Assembly (SA) unanimously passed a bill aimed at cracking down on biased speech on anonymous social media apps grazing at Tuesday’s meeting.

“The Boston College Undergraduate Government Student Congress…is hereby established a working group to collaboratively address issues of posting, including bias-induced speech and Heard language, and to study appropriate responses from accredited university administrations, similar to BC, ” the bill reads.

Buck Popolo is the GLBTQ+ Leadership Council and CSOM ’23 Policy Coordinator, where he worked with the Cross-Committee to draft a bill titled “A Bill on Conducting Research at Accredited Universities to Address Social Media and Bias Across Campuses.”

“On Monday, September 12, a Boston College student made a post on the Herrd app that used biased language​​​ about a student with a disability,” the bill reads. “Posts using biased language have been a recurring issue on the app.”

In the period leading up to the SA vote, Council of Students with Disabilities (CSD) SA representative and cross-committee chair Jonah Kotzen made it clear that only UGBC members could be part of the working group.

“We think restrictions are probably the most beneficial [the working group] just UGBC [members]because if we open up to the entire student body, it could get out of our control and our opinions as representatives of the student body could get lost in the chaos that ensues,” said MCAS ’24’s Kotzen.

Kotzen then discussed possible ways to inform and engage the larger community throughout the process.

“I think it would be beneficial to post on Instagram what we’re doing, even a newsletter, and ask for any advice,” Kotzen said. “I think it’s necessary to do that, especially since these students are affected by these people who react to the impact.”

In addition to passing the bill around Herrd, UGBC Vice President and MCAS ’23 Julia Spagnola discussed the possibility of creating a survey to address student concerns about BC Dining.

“There’s currently some concern that the $3,000 meal plan won’t cover a full semester of students, but that’s higher than usual because of price increases,” Spagnola said. “What we’re going to do is do a survey and ask students whether they are in How much is left on their meal plan, mid-term or end-of-term.”

According to Spagnola, there was a sense of urgency to conduct the survey because students have limited money this semester.

Jack Kaufman, Junior Class SA Representative and CSOM ’24, later addressed students’ concerns about the study abroad program application process.

“One of the things I’ve found with the application process, after listening to other students, is that it’s not very transparent about what to look for and how to get results,” Kaufman said.

According to Kaufman, he plans to address these issues at an upcoming meeting with the Office of Global Education.

Spagnola concluded the meeting with about 30 members discussing the benefits of tight-knit SA.

“I think this will set a good tone for our collaboration this year, and doing so will not only set a good example of a student body coming together, but hopefully achieve some of our goals,” Spagnola said.

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