On Tuesday, The University of Texas at Austin’s Student Government met for their weekly assembly meeting. The attendance was relatively high, and there was a Zoom option for those wishing to attend online. The meeting lasted about an hour, with two resolutions being considered. There was also an election that took place for the Ethics and Oversight Committee. The following is what the Student Government talked about for their October 12th Student Assembly meeting:
The meeting began with the Land Acknowledgement, which is a statement read at the beginning of each in-person meeting to pay respects to various indigenous peoples and communities who had previously occupied the land of Texas. Next was Open Forum, where Callie Smith, a staff member with New Student Services, advertised the application to be an Orientation Advisor. The Student Assembly then held a moment of silence for the murder of Matthew Shepard that occurred 23 years ago. They then spoke about being mindful of the struggles of the LGBTQ community and educating yourself about their movement. Lastly, a student came up to share resources about diversity where they shared materials focused on anti-racism. After the Open Forum ended, the nomination process for the Ethics and Oversight committee took place. Representative Agarwal was the only one elected and, following roll call, was unanimously elected to the position. In accepting the position, he mentioned that he wants to focus on social justice on campus and serve the student government as well as he can.
Next came the resolutions that were taken up. The first resolution discussed was AB 07, Amending the Code of Rules and Procedures to Reflect New Assembly Election Procedures. The bill seeks to make the election process easier and shorter for Student Assembly meetings. The bill mainly changes the question and answer section to three questions with a max time of two minutes per answer. It also motions to unanimously consent a candidate when they are the only one running, like the Ethics and Oversight Committee election. It puts voting in alphabetical order for chair elections.
Next on the roster was ‘AB 06 Amending the Code of Rules and Procedures to Create a New Operational CNS Dean’s Student Advisory Committee (DSAC).’ This resolution calls for creating a College of Natural Sciences Dean’s Student Advisory Committee that would allow students to impact leadership’s decisions on how the college is run. Currently, there is the President’s Student Advisory Committee, but no such committees exist on the college level. This signals that perhaps similar resolutions revolving around other colleges may come about in the future. The hope is that there is better communication between the Dean of CNS and the student body. As for membership for the committee, the resolution says the following: “Natural Sciences Council will appoint 6 members to the committee: their President, Vice President, Senate Representative, and 3 general members. The final 3 committee members will be appointed from the CNS Black and Latinx Advocacy Council (BLAC).” Upon the end of resolution updates, the Q&A commenced. There were no questions for the creators of the resolution, and it passed unanimously.
Next came the Ex-Officio Reports. The policy director for the Senate of College Councils, Echo Nattinger, came to speak to the Student Assembly about the College Tuition Budget Advisory Committee (CTBAC) survey. The goal of the survey is “an initiative aimed to promote tuition transparency and gauge student opinion on the university’s budget. By gathering information from the student body, the Senate can advocate for a budget that reflects student needs.” Echo advertised the survey to the student assembly and encouraged them to spread the word to get as much feedback as possible. She also stated that they would present the survey results to the Board of Regents in November.
After the reports were finished, the executive board then gave their reports. The Advocacy Director met with Dr. Brownsom, and Dr. Craig about the MHART Oversight Committee. The director is working on legislation regarding LGBTQ access to student government and student assembly. Next, the Communications Director made everyone aware that the first episode of the student government podcast is now available on Spotify and Apple Music. The Financial Director is currently working on creating a Financial Literacy Program. The FundYour40 Program has begun to seek applicants, and the Carreon Scholarship deliberations will take place on November 12th. He is also looking for volunteers for football games that could raise money for endowments. Next, the Chief of Staff has finished organizational outreach and got updated contact information for student organizations. She is also working on an external appointment tracking and accountability system for the exec board to fulfill its responsibilities. The Vice President let everyone know that the Texas Fight Rally went well and that those interested in external committees should apply because it is their last chance to do so. He is also working on getting a community garden for the Outpost and has begun to pitch a project for the Riverside Hub. The President let the student assembly know that they are welcome to join her for meetings with CMHC. There will also be a ribbon-cutting event at the COOP on October 20th. Lastly, she promoted study abroad programs to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Israel, and Palestine and student events like Longhorn Fiesta, an event with the AAA at the Multicultural Engagement Center to watch Dear White People, and an info session for Latino Studies.
Finally, the assembly boards presented their reports. The Student Affairs committee chair advertised Stamped from the Beginning, Stamped, and Stamped (for kids) by Ibram X. Kendi. She also raised awareness for a donation drive for elementary school students who need shoes. Next, the Rules and Regulations committee will be discussing an election bill that they have been working on. Also, the new Research Committee advertised their application. And finally, the SOA Report was about meeting with McCombs staff about diversity planning and bringing together Latino organizations on campus for combined initiatives. Following the reports, the meeting was adjourned.
Sterling Mosley is the Managing Editor of The Texas Horn. He is from Prosper, Texas, and currently attends the University of Texas at Austin as a junior. He is getting a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, History, International Relations & Global Studies, and Government and is minoring in Portuguese, Business, Spanish, and Security Studies. Sterling is an officer at the Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at UT, the Vice President of International Relations & Global Studies, co-president of Intercultural Conversations, Internal Director of Students for Central and Eastern Europe, a member of the Senate of College Councils, an officer in UT Young Historians, a co-team lead for the Innovations for Peace and Development Research lab's Governance Team, and a member of the lab's Political and Economic Sovereignty Team. Outside campus, Sterling has worked with the Borgen Project as a political intern and volunteered with the David Purdue campaign in the Georgia 2021 runoff elections. Currently, he is an intern with the Leadership Institute’s development department in Arlington, Virginia, and is participating in the Heritage Foundation's Academy program.