Texas State’s Student Government tabled an emergency resolution during its Oct. 19 meeting calling for the support of a petition demanding RAs receive improved transparency from the Department of Housing and Residential Life on COVID-19-related matters.
The petition, written by the Residential Adviser Organizational Committee, lists demands calling for DHRL to effectively consult with and communicate new policies with RAs, disclose to RAs a record of which residents are in isolation/quarantine and which have tested positive, guarantee housing and employment for RAs unable to work due to contracting COVID-19 and more.
According to the petition site, 15 organizations endorse it, including the Texas State Employees Union, Texas State's College Democrats, Hip Hop Congress, Transcend and the Graduate Students Affairs Council. The petition states:
"Our relationship with DHRL has shown us that though the department functions on the shoulders of RAs, we are not respected. Despite our importance, we are treated as disposable. This has all become even more evident during the COVID pandemic and we the RAs are reaching a breaking point."
The resolution asks the senate to officially support and endorse the petition, but Senator Hayden Wilson, who works as a RA, expressed doubt over the senate passing the resolution due to not knowing the individuals behind the RAOC petition.
Senator Matthew Smith offered for the discussion to be tabled until the next meeting and allow members of the RAOC the opportunity to speak at the next public forum before voting on the bill.
“If Senator Wilson is an RA and he has a hard time trusting this, I don’t want to impose the Student Government with an organization that I’m not sure I can trust,” Smith said.
No senate members objected to tabling the discussion. Parliamentarian Cody DeSalvo also moved to invite a member of DHRL to speak on the topic at the next weekly meeting Oct. 26.
The Student Government also passed a simple resolution to fill a vacant senate seat, confirming Quieraney Belvin to the senator-at-large position for a term of two years expiring April 2022.
Senate Leader Quintin Lorenz's resolution to repurpose Texas State's contact tracing program, Bobcat Trace, for mental health outreach purposes passed unanimously. The legislation will be transmitted to Student Government President Catching Valentinis-Dee for signature or veto. If signed, it will then be transmitted to the Dean of Students office.
The Senate is set to discuss and vote on the RAOC resolution at its next meeting Oct. 26. Those interested in attending can visit the Student Government website for the Zoom link.