Florida International University’s Student Government Cabinet Takes Charge to Represent Disabled Community
March 5, 2013, Miami, FL., —The Student Government Senate of the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, (SGC-MMC) led by Arts and Sciences Senator Stephanie Ortega, advanced a new resolution titled “In Support of the Establishment of a Disability Affairs Coordinator in the Student Government Association Executive Branch.”
The resolution was advocated for by Executive Assistant to the President Caroline Lorenzo and authored by Senator Stephanie Ortega; it was co-sponsored by Honors College Senator Raul Alvarez. It permanently establishes the position of Disability Affairs Coordinator within the Student Government Association’s Cabinet in this administration and all others to follow. “The impetus to create this position came directly from having met Danielle Winter, a special needs student who took the time to raise this issue during one of our cabinet meetings. I was not only impressed by her ability to overcome obstacles, but by her determination to truly impact students in meaningful ways. Creating this new position was the most pragmatic way to address the challenges faced by our disabled student community for years to come,” said Lorenzo.
This would make the new position one of only five permanent positions in the Executive branch that is required to be filled by statute, along with the Chief of Staff, Comptroller, President and Vice President.
Within the language of the bill it is noted that three percent of the student body at Florida international University, which equates to nearly 2000 students, identify themselves as disabled in one form or another. The Disability Affairs Coordinator would act as the primary advocate and liaison between this constituency and the Student Government Association. This official would program events with those students in mind, keep in close contact with the Disability Resource Center and collaborate with all necessary university entities to ensure seamless consistency of service and access for these students.
Senator Ortega was compelled to author this legislation by the personal story of one of FIU’s special needs students. When asked why she wrote the bill she stated, “After having met Danielle Winters and hearing her story as a student facing challenges with special needs, I felt I had the responsibility to ensure that the Student Government, as the legitimate representative of all of our school’s students, take serious and permanent measures to ensure that those needs are met. She inspired me to take the initiative and draft legislation that would guarantee effective action being taken on their behalf in this administration and all administrations to come.”
The Senate passed the bill unanimously on Monday, March 4th. For any questions, comments, concerns or other inquires please contact Stephanie Ortega at firstname.lastname@example.org or (305) 348-2121.
Student body President