On Jan. 31, the 48th Student Senate met for the first time this semester and spent two hours debating a swath of new legislation before them, ranging from pedestrian meters at Flint Ave. to polls being placed on the spring election ballot to gather information, to the ability of SGA judges to be appointed after serving in the Senate or in an executive office.
SGA Internal Vice-President Noelle Trotter brought the meeting to order at 6:14 p.m., and after roll and pledges were finished, the Senate entered open forum. Raiderthon representative Kevin Traub spoke of community service for the 13.1 hour event this spring; the SGA public relations director Zachary Haber addressed an SGA memorandum regarding interactions with the media; newly appointed outreach director Peter Brady told of his ambitious plan to raise voter participation up from 12% last year; and newly appointed diversity director Mark Khan spoke of getting students involved in diversity and cross-cultural organizations.
Next, the Senate entered the legislation phase, which is where resolutions that have been read before are voted on for the last time. Among the resolutions passed were:
- Senate Resolution 48.53 – “regarding the implementation of a ped button and pedestrian crossing sign on Flint Avenue.”
- Senate Resolution 48.57 – “stating the sentiment of the Student Senate regarding the new hire of Kliff Kingsbury as Texas Tech’s head football coach.”
- Senate Resolution 48.52 – “stating the sentiments of the Student Senate supporting the creation of a sales-tax exemption period for college textbooks int he State of Texas as detailed in S.B. 46, introduced in the Texas Legislature’s 83rd Session.”
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 48.11 – “placing a referendum on the Student Government Election ballot to gather the opinions of the students of Texas Tech University on the campus becoming tobacco-free or smoke-free.”
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 48.12 – “to place a referendum on the spring 2013 general election ballot to take a consensus on where students stand with gun-contorl policy on Texas Tech’s campus.”
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 48.09 – “Stating the sentiments of the Student Senate concerning a referendum to be placed on the General Election Ballot amending the Constitution of the Student Government Association regarding Grade Point Average requirements of senators and executive officers.”
- Senate Resolution 48.55 – “Stating the sentiments of the Student Senate requesting that the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents grant a new charter to establish the legitimacy of the Student Government Association at Texas Tech University.’
During the college reports phase of the meeting, only two out of the 13 colleges — Honors and Graduate School — had things to say. This phase of the meeting is where Senators describe what kind of outreach and response they’re doing and getting from their constituents in their respective academic colleges. Only three of the eleven Senate Committees filed written reports of their activities with the Rules and Administration committee as per procedure requirements.
Senators spent a lot of time debating other issues like media exposure, the disclosure of information gathered, the options of using the university’s department of Institutional Research for gathering information, comparisons between the federal government and the student government, the possibility of the Board of Regents adjusting SGA’s power over students, and how SGA needs to remain autonomous — self running, or ran by students only — rather than have influences from outside sources such as administration or faculty.
Senators Pippen and Allen, as well as President Alex Alston, remained after the meeting to discuss it with the Hub.
The next meeting of the Student Senate is Thurs., Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. in Rm. 353 of the College of Media and Communication. The meeting can also be heard live on KTXT 88.1-FM, The Raider.