House Meeting Recap: New initiatives, concerns about CAPS, anti-semitism resolution

Attendees heard from the FAU Psychoeducational Programming (PEP) director about complaints of unanswered calls to the CAPS crisis hotline, and the House of Representatives passed new initiatives and an antisemitism resolution


Student Government logo. Photo courtesy of SG.

André Rajoo, Political Reporter

In last Friday’s Boca Raton House of Representatives meeting, new initiatives such as a textbook cost reimbursement program and Women Empowering All (WEA) brunch program were among legislation that Boca Raton House Representatives passed. 

 The meeting also entailed discussions about antisemitism, student parking, and complaints about the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) crisis hotline.

Psychoeducational Programming (PEP Talk) director Alyson Winderbaum addressed SG leaders during the House meeting about recent complaints made by students about the Counseling And Psychological Services (CAPS) crisis hotline. 

CAPS provides 24 hours, seven days a week, crisis intervention services that are available to all. Winderbaum spoke to Boca Raton House members about the recent complaints made by students stating this crisis hotline is not always answered when called after hours. 

 “It is a very big issue that they advertise as a crisis line and that they are available 24/7, but the reality is that’s just not true,” Winderbaum said.

 Among new initiatives, the Boca Raton House passed a bill for the Women Empowering All (WEA) brunch, funding a one-time brunch for female leaders to network with others.

The brunch will also include female-led guest speakers Sonia Roa and Akai Marje to help women see a positive future they can create by actively networking with others.

Boca Raton House members also passed a new textbook support initiative. 

This new initiative replaces the phased-out Bright futures book stipend provided for students with specific academic achievements. 

This new SG initiative will reimburse students who purchase their textbooks from the FAU bookstore and provide verifying documents showing the textbooks required for their classes.

Reimbursements would be dispersed to students regardless of their high school SAT scores or current grades. 

 Boca Raton House Representative Michaela Clark also advocated a new initiative to suspend parking citations in certain areas on the Boca Raton campus while parking garage three near the stadium remains closed due to construction. 

Rep. Clark addressed House members about how students have been late to class due to no parking. Some have given up looking for parking in their assigned parking lot. Instead, they park wherever they may find a parking spot, even if they continuously receive parking citations by using an unapproved parking lot. 

 “I don’t think it’s fair. I would like to work with parking and transportation services to provide reimbursements to students who, and will continue to receive citations until the construction has concluded,” Clark said. 

The House of Representatives also passed a new resolution to condemn antisemitism authored by Boca Raton House Representative Inbal Shachar.

This new resolution would require the Student Government to condemn antisemitism based on its definition by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA). 

The IHRA defines antisemitism as: “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” 

The IHRA also states using symbols and images associated with claims of Jews killing Jesus, blood libel, and denying or downplaying the Nazi genocide of Jewish people during the Holocaust. 

The House of Representatives also announced new confirmations, resignations, and removals of SG members in Friday’s meeting.

Three students were confirmed to take positions within SG. 

  • Boca Raton House members confirmed Kanksha Parikh to be a part of the Student Union Advisory Board. 
  • Vanessa Smith was confirmed as the new Night Owls associate director. 
  • A freshman on the Boca Raton campus, Mackenzie Downie was elected by Boca Raton House members to be a new Representative. 

Four members were removed or resigned from the Boca Raton House of Representatives. 

The following Boca Raton House Representatives were removed or resigned from their position:

  • Former Representative Benjamin Cohen resigned due to his new position as SG Chief Justice.
  • Former Representative Kevin Paredes was removed for exceeding permitted house meeting absences. 
  • Former Representative Lamar Freckleton was removed for being absent from double the amount of meetings that a Representative is permitted to miss.
  • Former Representative Haley Franques resigned due to class schedules conflicting with SG events and meetings.

 André Rajoo is a Political Reporter for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]