The second Student Government meeting of the fall featured Texas State University President Denise Trauth as well as representatives from the Alumni Center as guest speakers. Due to the inability to meet quorum and an unexpected early ending to the meeting, the only legislation passed was the Textbook Lending Program.
Sept. 9 President Trauth addressed the meeting by highlighting the importance of Student Government and how it is essential to have a positive relationship with administration, especially when entering an election year where more conflict may be seen on campus.
“Already I think (Student Government) have a lot of great things underway,” Trauth said. “We are united no matter where we are on the political spectrum in standing together against hate, and that we are committed to building capacity here (the university) for inclusion. We believe that white supremacy and other forms of bigotry have no place at Texas State.”
Cindy Williams, president of the Alumni Association spoke during the meeting with former president of the AA Ernie Dominguez. They discussed the changes being made to the Alumni Association including automatic membership following graduation and no annual member fees.
There have also been changes to the Texas State Ring Ceremony, which will now take place at the Meadow Center and involve students dipping their ring into Spring Lake.
Vice President Tucker Thompson gave an update on the progress being made with the Free Menstrual Hygiene program. The funding for the pilot program is currently being processed, and they expect free pads and tampons will be in seven different buildings across campus including the Honors Building and the Student Recreation Center by the end of September.
There have not been enough applicants for the Campus Safety Task Force to start organizing meetings, if you are interested in joining to help make campus a safer environment, it is open to all students to apply.
During the meeting, Student Government Senators voted to approve the Textbook Lending and Affordability Act, which will allow students to donate their old textbooks in Alkek Library and check out their required reading material for the new semester for free.
The Free Speech and Expression Protection Plan was discussed in length during the meeting, which is a resolution that would make exemptions to the university disciplinary policies for the practice of first amendment rights on campus. The legislation also puts in place protections for students to not be penalized while practicing their first amendment right of free speech on campus.
Due to the response of student senators wanting to insure the resolution protects free speech for students but doesn’t encourage and safeguard disciplinary action towards protestors on campus not associated with the university, the student senators voted to table the legislation and send it to the Student Involvement Center for further review.
Student senators also discussed the possible positive and negative outcomes of the Living Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage of student workers on campus to $15 an hour. There were concerns that although the resolution would help to financially support students, it may cause companies such as Cartwells to lay-off student workers in order to meet the required pay. Senators were also considering the long-term effects this could make on encouraging an increase in prices of student housing and university tuition.
Before the vote could be placed to determine if the resolution passed, Vice President Thompson had to adjourn the meeting do to the inability to meet quorum. In order to place votes in Student Government, two thirds of the Student Senators must be present to accurately and fairly represent the group. Over three hours into the meeting, it was determined by taking attendance of the senators that less then 18 of them remained at the meeting, calling for an unanticipated end to the meeting.
Due to the lack of being able to meet quorum, the Student Government meeting was unable to address the Budget Authorization Act of 2019 as well as any of the new business on their agenda which included: Student Labor Relations and Representation Act, No Free Labor Act, the Affordable Homework Resolution, Standing Rules Update Act, Nomination Review Clarification Act, Establishing the Student’s Rights Committee. As well as confirming Alison Castillo as a justice of the supreme court, Joshua Clarke as a justice of the supreme court and Matthew Gonzales as director of marketing and outreach.
Student Government meetings are open to the public every Monday at 7 p.m. in the LBJ Teaching Theater. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 16. Additional information on the meeting agenda can be found on the Student Government website.