IU Student Government passed a bill March 22 in wake of the recent military coup in Myanmar that stated its support of the Burmese student population at IU.
The bill was authored by junior Jessica Morris and senior E.J. Wiggins. It also says IUSG intends to increase efforts to support, uplift and defend all international student communities at IU, but did not go into specifics.
Beth Par, a Burmese student and classmate of Morris informed Morris about her situation and perspective. Before the bill was passed, Par gave a presentation to the IUSG Congress about what is happening in Myanmar.
“The least that we can do for them is to raise awareness by using our social media, to hold protests, to donate to trusted individuals or organizations because banks have been shut down as well and to keep using our voice for them,” Par said.
This is the first bill Morris has authored as part of the IUSG Congress. Morris said she hopes this bill will set the precedent of addressing multicultural issues within the IUSG Congress. However, there are other members who aren’t as supportive of this bill and the precedent it sets, Morris said.
Madison Smith, chair of the student life committee, expressed her worries for the bill during a general meeting debate March 15.
“It does worry me that it sets a precedent that we’re going to have to respond to every international situation, and I don’t think that we as a body are the right people to do that,” Smith said.
Along with Smith, Nathan Ryder, chair of IUSG’s Title IX committee and House Speaker Alfonso Soto aren’t as keen for the precedent this bill would set.
The intentions of the bill were not a concern, they said. It is the problem of having to draft proclamations supporting groups of students any time an international incident occurs said Smith, Ryder and Soto.
“I’ve listened to these concerns for two weeks now and I’m just getting a little worried that this bill is not understood at all or even read to the fullest extent,” Wiggins said in response.
Wiggins said the scope of the bill is not supporting any government, it is supporting the Burmese student community at IU. He added that the IUSG has the capacity to address how issues like this affect IU students.
Morris added to this saying one of the larger purposes of this proclamation is not to comment on the issues directly. Rather it is to educate individuals and the community about the situation in Myanmar and on what some of IU’s international students may be experiencing.