Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier news editor
President Steve Briggs spoke to the Berry community Tuesday night at the SGA’s town hall meeting. The meeting served as a way for administration to explain the actions they are planning to take next semester to increase the culture of diversity on campus, their goals to change the policy of censorship of students on campus and the COVID-19 plan for next semester.
The town hall meeting began with SGA president David Lindsey asking Briggs questions about the six-part program that the college is planning to implement, starting in the spring semester. Briggs went into detail about what some of the programs and curriculum changes would look like. He explained that administration plans to create a committee of four faculty, four students and four staff members that will help to keep the plan moving forward.
Briggs then explained what the curriculum changes would look like. They are hoping to either add required classes to majors or by work with BCC classes to add featured programs and assignments.
After answering the prepared questions that Lindsey had for Briggs, Lindsey opened up the questions to students who attended the meeting in person or on Zoom. Most students had concerns regarding the curriculum changes, while others asked about how these changes would happen across all grade levels.
Lindsey then began to ask questions to Briggs about the censorship policy on campus. Briggs responded that the college is working under the guidance of the “Slants case.” The “Slants Case” is informal name for the case of Matal v. Tam, where the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that people could not trademark words that are considered offensive to other people.
Unlike public institutions who cannot censor their students, private colleges are allowed to create censorship rules for their students. Briggs stated that as the college moves forward with revising the Viking Code and the college’s censorship policies, they are using the ruling from this case as research.
According to Briggs, administration will work on this policy over the winter break and will continue to update students on its progress.
The town hall meeting concluded with questions from Lindsey about the COVID-19 plan for next semester. Again, students were given the opportunity to ask questions about what to expect for next semester. Briggs informed students that administration is working to create a plan for next semester that will continue to keep students safe by requiring them to follow COVID-19 guidelines when attending classes and events.
Students should expect more information about next semester’s COVID-19 policies in an email that will be sent over the winter break, according to Briggs.
With the end of the semester coming soon, Briggs reminded students that the college will continue to work on these issues and will move forward with their plans for change despite the fall semester ending and the spring semester beginning.