SGA Rundown: Senators discuss diversity and deliberate proposal

Horton senator Liz Kim proposes a ping pong table and Chief Ojeisekhoba announces new safety practices.

Phoebe Vrable, News Editor

This week’s meeting for the Student Government Association opened with a presentation from diversity coordinator Isaiah Swasey about interacting with students from diverse cultures. 

“About 30% of Biola’s population are students from diverse backgrounds,” Swasey said. “Knowing how to interact with them is pivotal to successfully and equitably representing every student population on campus.” 

Swasey explained the importance of acknowledging that diversity goes beyond a person’s race and includes a variety of pieces that make someone who they are. He defined cultural humility as an attitude where “someone can admit that they do not know everything about a particular people group and should cause those who possess it to take active steps to learn about other cultures, realizing their culture is not the norm.” 

Following the definition for cultural humility, Swasey went on to share about his own story and background, drawing from his Jamaican heritage and formative educational experiences. Part of his story has been learning how to fit together different elements in his life and identifying how they work together to shape who he is. 


Swasey identified a list of things that make cultures different, including food, music, societal norms and ways of speaking. “As student government, we are called to represent and make decisions on behalf of all students,” said Swasey. “The best way to serve is to listen to them. Seek ways to elevate voices that are not often heard. And when making decisions, keep them in mind.”

Finally, Swasey encouraged SGA members to talk especially with those who they think would disagree with their vote. “Go ask that person,” said Swasey. “I think that’s something you need to hear from their mouth.”


After snapping a group photo, Chief of Campus Safety John Ojeisekhoba shared a presentation on safety and training updates. “I’ve always taken the safety and well-being of students extremely seriously,” said Ojeisekhoba. “But I’ll tell you, dropping my own at college, it wasn’t an easy thing, you know. The point I’m trying to make here is that, always know students have always been something that’s extremely personal to me — it became even more so personal.” 

Ojeisekhoba discussed updates on property crime, stating that Biola always shares statistics which they aren’t legally required to, such as bicycle theft. In the past, bicycles have been the number one item stolen on campus. After offering free bike locks to students however, the numbers are currently at zero.

Ojeisekhoba then addressed rising acts of violence and school shootings. “Our campus is a safe place,” said Ojeisekhoba. “I’ll say that it’s a safe place, it’s very very safe. We’ve done a lot of work, 24 hours a day. We want to put our best foot forward to keep students safe, to make students feel safe.” 

Because there are less desks to use as defenses, schools have a higher fatality rate than offices do in the event of an active shooting. Ojeisekhoba and his team have been taking preventative action by revamping the active shooters procedures guides in classrooms and dorm rooms to make it more user friendly. Faculty have also undergone training and internal training sessions have been initiated. 

Ojeisekhoba announced that a safety training exercise will take place at the end of October. This campus-wide lockdown exercise will help train students to shelter inside a building on short notice. The student body will be informed before the exercise takes place. 


Horton senator Liz Kim requested $408 to fund a new ping pong table and globe lights for the Horton basement. She was joined by Horton resident advisor Liam Kelly, who agreed that the students would appreciate these additions, both for leisure activities and ping pong tournaments. Both the ping pong table and the globe lights would address concerns about lighting and create a more hospitable environment to work and live in. 

Additionally, Kim believes that the ping pong table would allow RAs to connect better with their students while doing something fun, and show the students of Horton that their requests are being listened to. After open discussion about funding, cheaper alternatives, and the space needed, it was announced that the proposal will be voted on next week. 


SGA President Christie Macris said that her meetings have been going well, and that students have been generally more impressed with the Café menu options. Bananas have been offered more regularly, meat has been less dry and fruit containers have been changed to prevent sogginess.

During the open discussion, SGA members agreed that they had heard more positive things, and Kim suggested a wider variety of breakfast items. Macris said that she will be meeting with the Caf staff if she continues hearing students voicing concerns regularly; however, she said that the chef and staff would prefer to receive feedback directly from the student voices.

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