The Student Government Senate mourned the death of student-athlete Khambrail Winters and introduced a dense set of legislation to be voted on during the spring 2021 semester at its final regular meeting of the year.
The first item of new business was “A Simple Resolution Mourning the Death of Khambrail Winters,” relating to the Texas State criminal justice sophomore and football defensive back who was shot and killed Nov. 24 at The Lodge Apartments.
The resolution, sponsored by senators KeAirra Haynes and Kojo Adu-Nyako, pays respect and sends sympathy to Winter’s family, loved ones, teammates and coaches while also highlighting Winters' sports achievements. The resolution, which had been made an emergency, passed unanimously.
“We lost a member [of the Texas State community]. I felt it was appropriate to make note of his contributions as a member of our Bobcat family. This basic legislation is in his honor,” Senate Parliamentarian Cody Desalvo said.
The Senate also introduced a slew of new resolutions, tackling topics like implementing a Campus Safety and University Police Advisory Committee, encouraging the university to adopt gender-nonconforming language in policy and official record-keeping, requiring 15 days’ notice before hearings about tuition and fee increases, no longer requiring SAT and ACT scores for admission to most programs in the university, implementing a two-to-five day fall break and calling the university to plan for a one-dollar increase of the environmental service fee.
“A Resolution Calling on Texas State University to Implement a Campus Safety and University Police Advisory Committee,” read by Senator Haynes, calls on the university to establish a committee focused on “authentic community engagement, policy review, informal complaint analysis” and transparency on issues of campus safety.
The piece of legislation cites two universities in California, The University of California, Davis, and Merced, as two primary examples of schools that have successfully implemented such councils.
“The University of California, Merced has recently created a Police Advisory Council of 16 members that includes representation of students, faculty and staff, including a reserved spot for an undocumented student,” the resolution reads. It states Texas State currently has an ad hoc safety and security task force, but a more robust oversight would foster a “more direct feedback loop between the police and the communities they serve.”
Senator John Rogers read “A Resolution Requiring the University to Provide 15 Days’ Notice Before a Tuition and Fee Increase Hearing,” which states that on Oct. 28 the university sent out a notice of a tuition and fee increase hearing less than 24 hours before the hearing itself.
The resolution cites The State of Texas Education Code Title 3, subtitle A, Chapter 54, section 54.0513(f), which requires the university to hold a public hearing before the Board of Regents approves any tuition increases.
“While the law does not specify notification requirements, the form, or duration of notice, any meaningful hearing under this law surely requires more than 19 hours’ notice,” it reads.
The resolution calls for a 15 days’ notice before the hearing date, no less than three email reminders leading up to the hearing and large public banners to be displayed at the entrances of the LBJ Student Center displaying all the relevant details.
“A Resolution Calling for the adoption of Trans-Friendly Preferred Naming and Pronoun Policies,” read by Senator Quieraney Belvin calls for Texas State to review all campus “systems of record,” like Catsweb, Outlook, Canvas and Banner, and allow for all members of the campus community to be identified by their names and pronouns.
The piece is meant to keep the university in line with its own 2017–2023 University Plan by encouraging “a diversity of people and ideas, a spirit of inclusiveness, a global perspective and a sense of community as essential conditions for campus life.”
The resolution states the current practice of using legal names instead of names subjects transgender and gender non-conforming people to exposure without their consent and denies some the dignity of their accurate identity.
“Transgender, gender non-conforming and students who do not adhere to the gender binary may be forced to come out to faculty, staff and other students on campus due to their legal names being used for official university business, including identification cards, emails and rosters,” the legislation reads.
All legislation read at the Nov. 30 senate meeting will be voted on at the first meeting of the spring 2021 semester Jan. 25. All Student Government meetings and resolutions can be accessed by visiting the Student Government website.