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Undergraduate Student Congress passes indigenous land acknowledgement act

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SGA Meeting (copy) (copy)

Members of the Undergraduate Student Congress at a meeting in Devon Energy Hall on March 5.

The Undergraduate Student Congress passed a bill implementing an indigenous land acknowledgement to be stated before all SGA events, among other things, at its Sept. 10 meeting. 

The Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Act, authored by SGA president Adran Gibbs and co-director of SGA’s inclusivity department Taylor Chiariello, includes a statement recognizing that OU students are “visitors on this land,” and thanks any indigenous people present for allowing them to gather. The statement will be read at SGA events including Homecoming and Soonerthon, according to the bill.

When Gibbs and Chiariello introduced the act to congress, they made clear that the statement was not set in stone and should be altered if the speaker sees fit. They said they wanted the statement to feel authentic and fit the audience present at each event. 

“It’s doing the right thing. It’s acknowledging what should be acknowledged at every event,” chair Emma DeAngeli said. 

The congress also passed the Problems and Projects Committee Reform Act of 2019, which would rename the committee to the Campus Outreach, Concerns and Safety committee. 

Committee chair Mark Mayes introduced the bill, and an extended question-asking period followed. The bill was passed in a second roll-call vote after the first roll-call vote failed to pass by a two-thirds majority, as some members thought the new name was too lengthy. 

Mayes said the questioning for the bill “was a great exchange,” and he encourages students to submit recommendations in his committee’s suggestion box. 

“I’m just glad that it’s over with and finally it’s not the No. 1 thing on my concerns so that I can actually deal with student concerns,” Mayes said. 

The meeting also saw the appointment of Michael Williams as the SGA department of communications cabinet director, and the appointments of Cameron Burleson, Hunter McCans and Riddhi Yadav as SGA superior court members.

Ari Fife is the OU Daily news managing editor and a senior journalism major minoring in international studies and political science. Previously, she served as the summer editor-in-chief, assistant news managing editor and a senior news reporter.

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