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HUSA Senate Passes Landmark Legislation, Addresses Environmental and LGBTQ Issues

By Kayla Allen, Staff Reporter 

Photo Courtesy of HUSA Senate Twitter

The student body agreed to adopt 14 constitutional changes proposed by the HUSA Senate in a semester filled with monumental accomplishments for this branch of student government. 

Most notably, outside of the constitutional referenda, senators unanimously passed the Lavender Bill and Green Fund. The Lavender Bill and Green Fund were the result of committee efforts spearheaded by School of Communications Senator Brandon Bush and School of Law Senator Ellis Walton respectively. Both pieces of legislation were applauded by HUSA in a press release as “positive examples of collaboration.”  

The Lavender Bill allows the HUSA Senate to create the Lavender Committee. This committee will collect data every two years on graduate and undergraduate LGBTQ+ students’ experiences. The committee is also responsible for creating “The HUSA Senate Lavender Report” which will provide information to the university on how to best serve Howard’s LGBTQ+ students. 

The Green Fund establishes permanent funding for the Student Green Fund. This Green Fund also calls for a committee to fund and give informational support to organizations and events that incorporate the “green principles” of sustainability, environmentalism, climate resilience and environmental justice. 

In the refenda itself Walton emphasizes this point more clearly. “HBCUs and their students should be at the forefront of the climate and environmental justice movements because these issues affect our fellow students and the global diaspora. Thus, by ensuring the Student Green Fund’s existence, Howard University would be adequately addressing community concerns and positioning Howard and its future students in a direction towards sustainability, equity, and environmental quality.”

The referenda the student body voted on aimed to solve procedural issues in the HUSA constitution. Before the vote there was no process to impeach and remove a senator and there was no line of succession in the Senate. 

HUSA Senate Vice Chairman, Naheim Banks, noted that addressing these issues were necessary in order to help the ninth HUSA Senate administration run efficiently. 

“The Constitution and the HUSA as a whole is largely based on tradition rather than actual process and procedure. That’s part of the reason why senators wrote so much legislation that lays out processes and makes things more clear,” Banks said.   

Even though there were challenges presented due to the coronavirus, HUSA Chairwoman Jordyn Allen inspired the Senate to do more for the Howard community. 

“At the beginning of the year, I challenged all Senators to write landmark legislation that would truly make a difference in the lives of students on campus,” Allen said                . 

In a video to the Howard community Allen went further to say, “We are living in unprecedented times but I assure you that when we return to the Mecca, due to the work of the Senate, we will return to a better Howard than what we left behind.”