Campus EMTs and LGBT Senate Seat in Question

March 28, 2011  

By: Stephanie Collins

The student senate held its second ever Town Hall meeting, which is intended to allow students to voice their opinions and closely interact with student senators, Thursday.

Although this kind of meeting was used by SMU student senators long ago to directly address the needs of students, it has not been used in the past 10 or 15 years, according to first year Dedman I Senator Parminder Deo.

“This is a much more open, casual setting,” said Deo.

The meeting, which was held in the Umphrey Lee dining room, focused on the recently discussed issue of adding an LGBT seat to the student senate, as well as an initiative to create a student-run emergency medical system program on campus.

Student Zac Friske presented the idea of a student EMS system, a proposal the student senate has been working on for over a year.

Because of SMU’s location, both the Highland Park and University Park fire stations respond to emergencies on the campus. According to Friske, however, there has been concern that emergency response teams are not always able to make it to campus within the promised five-minute window.

Because a heart attack, for example, requires emergency attention within three minutes, Friske said, it is essential that emergency response teams are more available to the SMU campus.

The student EMS system would be a volunteer organization of SMU students or members of the surrounding community who are EMT trained and would be able to provide emergency assistance immediately from on-campus locations.

“We want it to be open to every major, not just pre-med students,” said Friske, who said that any student could be trained and volunteer for the program.

The cost of EMT training, however, is around $1,000. Although EMT certification would last up to 10 years, the price may be steep for students looking to volunteer.

“We are working on finding a way to lower the cost. We want it to be open for everyone,” said Friske.

The other major topic discussed at the meeting was the question of whether or not to form an LGBT seat for the student senate.

Dedman II Senator Harvey Luna discussed the issue, who said that if the seat is created, only students who identify themselves as members of the LGBT community will be able to vote for the senator who takes the position. This does not include students who have been trained by SMU’s Allies program.

According to Luna, the LGBT community specifically has needs that should be addressed on campus, which is why a student senate position would be beneficial.

The next Student Senate Town Hall meeting will be held Wednesday, March 30 at 4 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg commons.

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