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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Weekly Student Government Senate meeting discusses textbook accessibility, emergency safety

DSG also discussed CPR certifications and the mental health of student-athletes before a closed session on student concerns on the Israel-Gaza War.

Baker tower

On Oct. 15, the Dartmouth Student Government Senate met for its fifth weekly meeting of fall term. Led by student body president Jessica Chiriboga ’24, the Senate discussed updates on increasing accessibility to textbooks for students, emergency planning communications and increasing support for student groups.

DSG Chief of Staff Anthony Fosu ’24 discussed the results of the textbook accessibility survey, which indicated that accessing textbooks remains a major barrier for many students.

“There is a sizable amount of students who are switching out of certain classes or not attending certain classes because textbooks are a barrier,” he said. 

Alternatives to hardcopies, such as online PDFs and scans provided by professors, are not always sufficient for completing coursework. 

“Usually, it’s because [these] textbooks have an online component,” Fosu added. “And it’s usually in the sciences or social sciences.”

Fosu announced plans to update course descriptions on the Dartmouth Timetable of Class Meetings to reliably indicate which textbooks are required materials. Furthermore, the library recently updated its collections facility and is seeking new ways to digitize research, which Fosu said is a “key component” of College President Sian Leah Beilock’s vision for the College to become a more active research institution. 

Allen House Senator Daniel Cai ’26 discussed attending a meeting with the Emergency Planning Group, which is composed of representatives from different departments at Dartmouth and plans for emergencies that may affect campus, according to its website. Miscommunication has been one of the most crucial reasons community members feel unprepared or unsafe, he said. 

“From my personal [experience], my UGA reached out to me about fire drills that never happened,” Cai said.

Chiriboga added that people across campus have openly expressed concerns about campus safety.

“We got some comments over the summer from students asking, ‘What am I supposed to do as a student if there’s an active shooter on campus?’” Chiriboga said. “Having some sort of communication, like if EPG is willing to send a message through us, might be important.” 

The Senate also discussed providing increased support for members of Greek life, undergraduate advisers and student-athletes. 

Student body vice president Kiara Ortiz ’24 said they would try to fund CPR classes for members of Greek life, UGAs and other campus leaders who might benefit from CPR certification. UGAs have voiced complaints about feeling unprepared to assist their peers in emergency situations, according to previous coverage in The Dartmouth. 

East Wheelock House Senator Jon Pazen ’25 also said the DSG Senate Mental Health Committee hoped to get more student athlete involvement with the DSG Senate. He met with representatives from sports teams to facilitate communication on mental health at the Student Athlete Advisory Committee meetings on Oct. 16 and 17.  

The Senate concluded the meeting with a closed session to discuss student concerns about the Israel-Gaza War, pedestrian safety and Greek life. In an email statement after the meeting, Chiriboga reported that DSG voted to relay student concerns about the Israel-Gaza War to College President Sian Leah Beilock and executive vice president for strategy and special counsel Jomysha Delgado Stephen.

Jon Pazen is the current director of The Dartmouth’s strategy team.