The Addendum 1.1 Your Week in 10 Minutes or Less

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Addendum 1.1: ASLMU, Alok Vaid-Menon, and the COVID-19 Aftermath
By Raven Yamamoto & Jonathan Grace.

Introducing: The Addendum — the postscript of LMU’s week. Every Thursday, Agency's Raven Yamamoto and Jonathan Grace will bring the news to you in a fast-paced radio show. Wherever you are, you can stay informed about what’s happening on the Bluff. And we’ll do it in 10 minutes or less.

On this episode, we talk COVID-19 Updates, ASLMU Elections, Alok Vaid-Menon's virtual visit to the Bluff, and more. Pop in your earbuds and get caught up on everything you might have missed on the Bluff this past week and every week.


This. is the Addendum. The postscript to LMU’s week. Every Thursday, we bring the news to you. Wherever you are, you can stay informed about what’s happening on the Bluff. And we’ll do it in 10 minutes or less. Reporting for The Agency: I’m Raven Yamamoto, and I’m Jonathan Grace. 

The Addendum starts now.

LMU will be receiving $4.7 million dollars from The U.S. Department of Education as part of the larger federal stimulus package that will provide emergency grant money to colleges and universities nationwide. Every institution is required to allocate at least half of their grant to emergency financial aid for students to help cover their expenses during the COVID-19 crisis.  Here on the Bluff, that means about $2.3 million for our Lions. It remains unclear how LMU plans to spend the remaining half of the funds. On Thursday, The Department of Education Press Office stated that these funds will be released to universities (quote) “immediately.” The university has yet to release an official statement on this topic.

Earlier this week, LMU announced that all Summer Session I courses will be moved online. The actual dates for both Summer School Sessions have not been changed. The first session will still run from May 18 - July 1, and the second session, from July 29 - August 12.

On April 2, the University announced that it will be offering partial refunds for on-campus housing, meal plans, parking, and recreation fees. These partial refunds come as all LMU courses have been moved online through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. As of April 6, these partial refunds have gone into effect and can be viewed in PROWL. 

On Friday, ASLMU held its first meeting with their new COVID-19 Student Advocacy Committee. Seven (7) students were chosen to work directly with administration on University policy regarding the pandemic. The committee will meet weekly with current student body president Ken Cavanaugh and vice president Emily Sinsky to discuss proposals for how the University can better prioritize student needs during this time.

  • KEN CAVANAGH: So we kind of came up with the COVID-19 Student Advocacy Committee as an idea to help bring in non-student government people to the conversation and have people who haven't already been in ASLMU get involved with student advocacy around responding tot he COVID-19 policies. the COVID-19 Student Advocacy Committee works with in tandem with our internal student government committee on COVID-19 and together the two groups have been working for the past couple of weeks to come up with policy recommendations to address ongoing areas of concern. 

That was Ken Cavanagh on the subject. More updates to come as the committee continues.
According to an announcement from LMU President, Timothy Law Snyder, 2020 Commencement ceremonies have officially been postponed until further notice. The University will be holding virtual ceremonies for undergraduate, graduate and law school students on their original dates in May. President Snyder was clear that these virtual celebrations will not replace the eventual live commencement ceremonies but will instead serve as (quote) “a head start in honoring our graduates” 

In our first ever virtual election season, our Lions have let their vote roar, electing Jack Palen and Elsie Mares as our next student body president and vice president, respectively. The pair has already begun transitioning into their new roles with the current ASLMU administration. Here’s what LMU’s newest student body president, Jack Palen, has to say about his role in the upcoming academic year.

  • JACK PALEN: “I’m personally most excited about assembling the leadership team and cabinet. We are currently in the interview phase of that process, we have a lot of good candidates so Elsie and I are really excited. And the first goal Elsie and I are setting our sights on is getting all unpaid ASLMU positions paid, and we are referring to cabinet positions and ASLMU senators. We hope getting those positions paid will open the door for more LMU students to be able to step away from on-campus jobs and things like that to serve the community in that capacity.”

And here’s Elsie Mares, our newest ASLMU vice president...

  • ELSIE MARES: What I am looking forward to most is to continue using student government as a means for advocacy, especially in the areas of health and wellness and accessibility for low-income students. Our very first task in the transition process, so this is currently what Jack and I are focusing on.

Also for the first time in LMU history, a resolution was put on the ASLMU ballot. This year, students were able to vote on a resolution put forth by Divest LMU calling for the University to divest from fossil fuels. The resolution passed with an overwhelming 93% of students voting in favor of the initiative.

The event comes as a huge victory for people like Emilee Smith who have been working with DivestLMU for the past three years.

  • EMILEE SMITH: The way  I see it, passing the resolution now gives us a solid platform to be able to say that divestment is something the student body supports. Even when everything was online, everything still had momentum, still had reach, and we just were able to see that people still wanted to be a part of what we're doing even though we weren't able to talk to them in person. Having the vast majority of students on our side makes our argument stronger but we still have to pressure the administration to actually committ to a divestment plan. We now actually have another petition going around that anyone can sign and we also have a written proposal that outlines our entire argument for divestment so we kind of have a lot of different moving parts and winning the resolution, getting all of that passed, with such a high percentage of student support is really exciting but it is just one piece of that puzzle and hopefully when everything comes together, that will be enough. 

ASLMU Elections Chair Brice Catalano has confirmed that student government plans to continue putting student resolutions like these on the ballot in future elections.

  • BRICE CATALANO: One of my main jobs as Elections Chair is to look at voter turnout in student body elections and figure out how to increase that, how to make students more involved. Having DivestLMU on the ballot contributed to having such a high voter turnout when comparing our 40% to other schools. I was definitely a little nervous. I was actually a little nervous because the actual resolution to allow a student-led resolution initiative was kind of on the line here—I needed them to get the signatures in order for this change in the Elections Code to be tested. But to my great relief, they accomplished the goal in less than five days which is amazing. Now the resolution that allowed DivestLMU to put their initiative on the ballot, that is now in the elections code and it will be in the Elections Code until someone decides that they want to try and vote that part of the Code out. I hope that in the future students will take advantage of this tool to continue making LMU a better place for everyone.

LMU gave a warm virtual welcome to non-binary activist Alok Vaid-Menon. The Women & Gender Studies Department collaborated with ASLMU to bring Vaid-Menon to the Bluff via Zoom for a series of digital workshops. Students were able to join the conversation deconstructing the gender binary. In an Instagram post, LGBT Student Services described the series as (quote) “an opportunity for our trans and queer student community to heal during this time.”

The novel coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented change in the lives of nearly everyone on earth, and LMU is no exception. As people all throughout the LMU community are adjusting to a socially-distanced life at home, university resources may not seem as accessible. So The Agency has put together a list of LMU resources that are available to all students during this strange, and unpredictable time:

All LMU students are eligible to receive free access to the Adobe Creative Cloud through the end of the academic year. Simply email to request access. Other at-home software options are also available at the LMU ITS webpage.

The William H Hannon Library is continuing to offer its regular online services, allowing students to check out e-books and other media online. The library is also still offering full access to its online databases and research materials. 

LMU’s Jesuit faith community has also moved many of its services online, from pastoral counseling, to online liturgies and guided prayers. This week, Junior Theological Studies Major, Gaby Guerro (Goo-air-oh) even organized an Easter Vigil via Zoom.

The LMU Center for Service and Action is also continuing all of their hard work in the community through virtual service opportunities. Visit CSA’s website or contact Chelsea Brown to learn more about how to get involved. 

And finally, LinkedIn Learning is also available for all LMU students through their student portals, allowing any Lion to access countless courses specific to their field of study— all taught by industry professionals. 

There you have it Lions. Your week, in 10 minutes or less. Reporting for Agency LMU, I’m Raven Yamamoto, I’m Jonathan Grace. Until next Thursday — this has been the Addendum. 

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