TUA resolves to collaborate with Loyola Student Government

Ellie Cowen, Staff Writer

TUA update
Tulane Undergraduate Assembly met with Loyola University’s student government on Tuesday in the first ever joint session that discussed equity and efforts to bridge relationships between the two student bodies. (Will Embree)

In an unprecedented joint session, Tulane Undergraduate Assembly passed a resolution with Loyola University’s Student Government Association to meet at least once a year. The meeting was part of TUA’s efforts to build relationships with other New Orleans institutions and create an equitable, accessible and sustainable community between the two campuses. 

“This is a historic moment,” Alicia Bourque, Loyola’s vice president of student affairs, said in opening remarks. “I’ve been at Loyola for 17 years … but I never heard of this happening. I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you’re able to gather to collaborate [and] communicate.”  

Any legislation passed at a joint session is binding for both legislatures. Students from either university can introduce legislation, if it is co-authored by at least two legislators from each school. The resolution also called for collaboration with other peer institutions in New Orleans, including Xavier University and University of New Orleans. 

During the session, TUA delegates and Loyola senators were seated at round tables together to discuss their experiences at the other university, how to bridge gaps between student bodies and inequity between campuses. 

One Loyola legislator said she thought taking a class at a predominantly white, wealthy school would be challenging. 

“I took a class at Tulane, and I noticed that everyone was really normal and nice, which I was sort of taken aback [by],” the legislator said. 

Legislators from both schools also discussed the value in partnering for social advocacy initiatives. Both campuses face similar issues, like climate change and health disparities and have student groups doing overlapping work. 

“There is so much potential to collaborate and half the time we are working on similar issues,” Loyola SGA President Stephanie Oblena said. 

Since Loyola is a Catholic university, students cannot advocate for certain pro-choice issues and are not provided contraception by the school. Legislators discussed seeking to expand these resources provided at Tulane to Loyola students and collaborate in the effort to expand access. 

“Those are resources that we can share from our institution to help [Loyola administration] move on those issues, as well as ensure [students] also have access to those resources,” TUA Co-Chair Jay Hartley said.

Amid TUA’s restructuring, legislators from both universities learned about the structures of their respective student governments. Compared to TUA’s new horizontal structure with 34 delegates and internally elected committee chairs, Loyola SGA is divided between legislative, executive and judicial branches with a president and vice president.

“In our constitution and bylaws, we are directly a anti-racist student advocacy organization,” Hartley said. “Where our previous model had a lot of vanity … we really work to make our system as horizontal as possible so that each delegate has the resources they need to make change on our campus.”

Leave a Comment