Student Body Vice President, Addison Henson, wants to pass a resolution advocating for the continuation of hybrid classes post-pandemic.
Following the resignation of former Student Body Vice President Grant Daily, former Chief of Staff Addison Henson accepted the nomination for the position. With a less than two months in the role of student body vice president, Henson plans to advocate for a more holistic return to campus in the fall.
“One thing I'm hoping to do is pass a resolution and see how it would go through the staff and faculty senate to advocate for the continuation of hybrid class formats, in which lectures are recorded or at least a Zoom kind of option is included,” Henson said.
Henson hopes the continuation of hybrid classes will allow students more flexibility when it comes to being sick and in-person attendance.
“If you were sick, you were expected to kind of like work yourself to an insane level,” Henson said. “And we've kind of been able to give ourselves a little bit of leeway with that and the pandemic, but I don't want to return to that point where students are encouraged to show up when they're not doing well, no matter what it means for them to be not doing well.”
Henson wants to expand Protect KU’s initiatives to consider what it means for staff, faculty and students to return to educational spaces, including their anxieties and mental health surrounding the return. She also plans to highlight those who entered college during the pandemic and have yet to enter a traditional college classroom setting.
Henson believes enforcing attendance is not off the table when it comes to hybrid learning, it just comes down to how each professor will implement it.
“So they could basically benchmark kind of where they're at or make sure that they're attending, but still give people the opportunity to take that break from the classroom space, if they really need it,” Henson said. “And not necessarily have it be detrimental to their progress as a student, because it doesn't make any sense that not only would you lose the points, but you would lose the opportunity to get access to that education in any way, shape, or form.”
Henson is still in the transition phase from chief of staff to student body vice president. With the amount of time left in the semester, it seems impossible to fill her former position following the traditional hiring process.
“I'm basically acting as chief of staff and the student body vice president right now, since we haven't filled the role. So it's definitely been overwhelming,” Henson said. “But I think that it's also been like, it's been, I don't know, I would say gratifying, in a sense to get a little bit more involved in work and senate, that kind of like, is up close to student issues and allows you to have a little bit more input in those spaces.”
Following Grant Daily’s resignation, Henson said the senate is currently in the process of figuring out how to properly apologize to those who were emotionally harmed by his racist remarks.
“Yeah, I think that it's one of those things where there was a lot of harm done by him in the way that he conducted himself and treated people who were actively like, advocating for social justice,” Henson said. “And then also seeing what can be done in the senate space to like, fix our own issues, so that this problem doesn't occur again, and so that people can more effectively do advocacy in the senate space, especially when it comes to things like anti-racism.”
While fixing issues within the student senate, Henson wants to empower those who are already combating racism on campus. The student senate will meet with the Office of Multicultural Affairs on Wednesday. Henson hopes the conversation will guide the student senate in the right direction.
Henson will not continue her senate tenure after this school year. She wants to take a step back from the stress, toxicity and time consumption of the student senate, and enjoy her senior year.
“It can be very toxic at times,” Henson said. “And it can also be a space where people aren't necessarily advocating for student issues, but rather competing for perceptions and positions of power. And it just kind of came to a head in terms of my frustrations and also stress because it is a very high time commitment.”
Henson rescinded her candidacy for student body president the day before Daily resigned. She never imagined she would be student body vice president.
“It's definitely gonna be an interesting way to end my senate career, because I didn't expect it to happen in this way,” Henson said.