The Student Government Senate unanimously passed four resolutions regarding calling for registration fee transparency, allowing for excused absences for senators with a chronic illness or disability, updated calorie and diet information in dining halls and free masks in major student service buildings.
Senator Cassidy Storts wrote, “A Resolution to Encourage Fee Transparency When Registering for Classes Through an Online Code Pledge.”
The resolution, which was made an emergency, puts forth an “online code pledge” written by the Senate Academic Affairs Committee, urging professors to reduce the use of required online learning codes and be upfront about fees before students register for classes.
"Professors sometimes wait until the very last minute to create a Canvas site and syllabus. Students feel that they are making a blind commitment and are almost forced to make these purchases in order to take the class when they are already paying for the class as a whole,” it states.
Storts says once the resolution passes, a pledge would be emailed to faculty members.
“If they do decide that they want to sign [the pledge], it would basically just mean that they are choosing to be more transparent when it comes to the fees that their students are going to have to pay," Storts said.
DeSalvo says he is on board with the piece of legislation but asked whether it was pre-arranged to send the email out en masse and if it was clear which fees were being addressed in the resolution.
According to Vice President Andrew Florence, the resolution has been presented to University President Denise Trauth and other relevant members of the university’s cabinet. He says they are on board with the idea and consider it part of the larger goal to make textbooks more affordable.
The pledge states professors will not use “hidden fees” after it is too late to unregister from a class. “This includes not requiring my students to purchase an online learning system, or a code, in addition to the textbook purchase,” it reads.
Parliamentarian Cody DeSalvo read “The Excused Absences and Tardies for Chronic Illness and Disability Act,” which calls for senators with a chronic illness or disability to not have to present a doctor’s notes to be excused from Senate meetings as long as they have documents stating their condition.
“When someone experiences an episode with their disability or their chronic illness, they may not be able to get to the doctor; they may not even go to the doctor because it’s something that happens so often,” DeSalvo said. “But if they have a note from the Office of Disability Services or a standing order from the doctor, as far as bedrest goes, they can use those things to get some excused absences for missing Student Government events and Senate meetings."
Senate Leader Quintin Lorenz wrote, “A Resolution Calling for Updated and Diet Specific Information in Dining Halls.” The resolution states various dining halls around campus do not display up-to-date calorie and diet information which is causing students, especially those with dietary restrictions and concerns, to fear eating on campus.
The bill calls for the university to review all dietary information displayed on campus and consult with a dietitian to ensure the information displayed is accurate and safe.
The resolution reads, “In the event that major issues are found in the dietary information, Texas State [should] begin the process of reassessing contracts with Chartwells so that these issues are solved indefinitely.”
Chartwells Higher Ed is the food service company that provides dining services for Texas State.
Senator Kojo Adu-Nyako gave a brief overview of “A Resolution Calling on Free Masks in Major Student Service Buildings,” a resolution he co-wrote alongside DeSalvo.
“Basically, it’s just a quick piece that’s compelling all the major buildings on campus like dining halls, LBJ [and] Alkek to give out masks for free to students who might’ve forgotten a mask or just didn’t have a mask on them at the time,” Adu-Nyako said.
The Senate also confirmed Senator Valeria Vargas as Chairperson of the Campus Sustainability Committee.
All Student Government meetings and hearings are open to the public and can be accessed by visiting the Student Government website.