Student Government approves new governing document

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Student Government President Kori Rady speaks about spring semester plans for SG at the SAC on Tuesday evening.

Photo Credit: Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

Student Government voted unanimously to approve its new Code and Rules of Procedures at Tuesday’s SG meeting.

The code’s content, which the SG Rules and Regulations Committee has been reviewing since September, is a compiled version of SG’s formerly separate bylaws and procedures and serves as a detailed explanation of SG operations and rules. The code is used alongside a more general constitution that was updated last spring. 

The formatting of the code has been under review since summer, after controversy over the handling of interview notes for external and internal positions last spring. The controversy led to a decision by the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs that releasing interview notes violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The release of interview notes was not discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. 

At an SG meeting Nov. 12, SG agency leaders spoke out against an agency review process that was added to the document, saying they were not aware of the addition and asked that the code not be passed until they voiced their concerns and suggestions.

“It’s good to reevaluate what agencies do and make sure they are still relevant in serving students, but I personally had an issue with the makeup of that committee,” said Amber Magee, Diversity and Inclusion agency director.

Rules and Regulation committee members said agency members were given opportunities to add input on the code, and the students went into debate. The code failed to pass and was subsequently sent back to the committee for further review and agency input. 

Before Tuesday’s meeting, SG representatives and agency representatives have been meeting with the Rules and Regulations committee to address such changes to the document. 

“We asked everyone to send in amendments, comments, etc., and our committee took input for every single one,” said Melysa Barth, Rules and Regulations committee chair. “We met, I want to say, five or six times from the last time we were up here, so we did spend a lot of time not only hearing everyone come to our meetings and talk to us, but, also, we went through them and the code making sure it was up to snuff.”

According to the code, the review process required agency members to be assessed on performance by “Student Body President, Student Body Vice President, Speaker of the Assembly, Two Representatives from the Assembly chosen by the Speaker, the Agency’s Policy Director, and the ex-officio member being the Deputy to the Dean of Students” every other year. 

The new version also clarifies that agency directors can amend the information in the document about their specific agency.

“There is a very nice amendment process in [the new code],” Magee said. “You can just submit it through the policy director and the chief of staff, so I feel like the Rules and Regulations committee was very gracious in giving us time with the whole assembly to work on it.”

Braydon Jones, SG speaker of the assembly, said the assembly board will meet during winter break to determine what next semester will look like under the new code. 

“These rules are going to take immediate effect,” Jones said. “So we are at these guidelines now, fortunately. They will be sent to the Office of the Dean of Students as well the Vice President of Student Affairs for final approval, but we’re going to be functioning under these now unless otherwise told.”