The Southern Utah University Student Association passed a bill to add a statement addressing the gender options on SUU’s application at the last senate meeting of the semester on Tuesday.
The application to apply for SUU has two options under the gender section: male or female. This is due to a state policy created by the Utah System of Higher Education that all universities in Utah must only include those two answers.
Cynthia Hawk, the representative for the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, introduced a bill addressing this issue, urging administration to include an official statement on its application to show support for those who do not identify as male or female.
While the sponsors of the bill are unsure of what the statement will look like, they hope for it to be included on the actual application to SUU.
The bill stated that SUU is “committed to providing a safe, welcoming and loving environment for all of its applicants and students, regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race and class.”
Members of the senate responded with positivity toward the bill, agreeing that the application should make students feel welcome.
“Even if it will only help one person feel better next year, it is 100% worth it,” Science Sen. Kamryn Burnside-Evans said. “If they have to pretend to be somebody they are not for another four years, just so they can be accepted to a university, it’s something that is super difficult for them.”
Vice President of Academics Abbie Jacobsen mentioned that the idea for this bill came from a student concern, reminding the senate that “it came from the community we are supposed to represent.”
The bill also urges administration to work with future SUUSA members to encourage USHE to change the state policy.
Chief Justice Colton Smith added that the bill is a non-binding resolution, meaning that the senate does “not have the power to compel the university” to add the statement or work with USHE, but shows the senate’s support behind the motion to encourage administration to comply.
Non-Traditional Office Rep. Spencer Seal introduced another bill to provide a digital map for students showing restrooms containing diaper changing stations on the SUU app.
A professor previously reached out to Humanities & Social Sciences Sen. Amanda Walton,, complaining there are too few restrooms on campus with diaper changing stations. After researching, Walton realized there are many bathrooms with changing stations, people just do not know where they are.
“I hope that this digital map on the SUU app will help students, professors and community members to better access the facilities SUU has to offer,” Walton said.
The senate passed both bills.
The newly elected SUUSA executive council and senators will officially be sworn into office at a ceremony on April 2 at 4 p.m. in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Church Auditorium.
Recaps of previous senate meetings can be found on SUU News.
Story by: Tori Jensen
Photos by: Christopher Dimond