SGA pushes for application changes, COVID-19 resources

Gerardo Aguilera | @jerry21aguilera, Contributing Writer

The University of Alabama might be the next to join a long list of universities that will include gender pronouns in prospective student applications.

On Oct. 8, the UA Student Government Association unanimously passed a resolution to include an option to list pronouns on UA admissions applications. Schools from the Ivy League to the Southeastern Conference have already made this addition to their applications. 

“After looking at a few SEC school’s admission applications, we noticed that schools such as Auburn do not,” said Emilia Ciezadlo, an SGA senator in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Common App does have a section where they ask the student to share more about their gender identity, yet not specifically a section for pronouns.”

Ciezadlo is one of the authors of the resolution, along with Arts and Sciences Senator Darius Thomas.

“With this piece of legislation being a resolution, Darius and I wanted to have this approved by the Senate before we bring this to Admission’s attention. With the Senate’s approval, we now plan to bring this to Admissions, specifically to IT,” Ciezadlo said. “From there, we hope to work closely with them to have it on the University of Alabama admission application.”

The goal is to work alongside campus leaders and administrators to advance the resolution and make it available to prospective students soon. 

“SGA is excited to pass this resolution encouraging the addition of gender pronouns on the University’s application for admission. If added to the application, it will be an optional field, provided to help every student feel included and more comfortable when filling out our application,” said Jackson Fuentes, SGA press secretary. “We look forward to future discussion with the University on this important topic.”

Along with the gender pronouns resolution, the Student Government Association passed a resolution on Oct.1 intended to help students who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Colin Marcum proposed a resolution on Oct. 1 to introduce a follow-up email with the “next steps” for students who test positive for COVID-19 at a University testing facility. The email will outline steps to prevent further spread of the virus. 

Those who are sick receive a phone call to be notified that they tested positive for COVID-19. After the phone call, there is no further advice or resources provided. The resolution will provide those who do test positive with medical and precautionary advice.

The Senate will also partner with University administrators and faculty members to distribute “next-step packages.” Mary Lee Caldwell of the Division of Student Life will oversee the process and include information cards in the packages. 

This will also include help for those going through the recovery stages of the virus, which has infected over 2,500 UA students.

“The SGA Senate looks forward to working with University administrators and additional faculty to continue keeping COVID-positive students and their peers both safe and well informed,” Fuentes said.

SGA also passed an act on Oct. 1 to migrate students’ email accounts to Microsoft Outlook, which will begin in May.

This passed after a task force was created by SGA to find recommendations for another format for the student email. This means that Gmail, which the University of Alabama uses currently for student emails, will no longer host student emails.

“It was really important for us to create this task force and find a workable solution for student emails,” said Will Bradley, SGA director of communications. “For too long, our Crimson email accounts have been less than operable with Microsoft O365 apps and are disconnected from the staff and faculty email server. I’m grateful we could find a solution in migrating student emails to Outlook.”

This resolution was authored by SGA Vice President for Student Affairs Price Dukes, along with SGA Senators Amanda Allen and Ben Heggeman.

Proponents of the resolution say that this move will provide users with a more secure network, while hosting all student faculty and staff members. It would also allow members to easily find student or faculty members in one common directory. 

“We mostly want students to know that this transition is not planned to occur in the middle of the school year, and SGA will work with OIT to inform and educate the student body on the migration,” Dukes said. “Importantly, Outlook is used by nearly 95% of Fortune 500 companies, so there is no doubt this migration will help to make UA students career-ready.”