Senate introduces affirmative action resolution, passes financial aid handbook

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Sergio Cavazos President of the Senate of College Councils speaks at the Senate general assembly.
Photo Credit: Emmanuel Briseño | Daily Texan Staff

The voice of student support for affirmative action is growing louder as the Senate of College Councils introduced a joint resolution with the Graduate Student Assembly in support of the University’s holistic admission policy this week.

On Wednesday, GSA passed the joint resolution during their general assembly meeting, and Thursday, Senate president Sergio Cavazos introduced Joint Resolution 1603 to Senate’s general assembly, likely to be voted on at their next meeting Dec. 1. 

“In terms of joint resolutions, it’s always great when our [organizations] can come together on campus,” said Cavazos, who co-authored the resolution. “In light of the events on campus with YCT and the other conversations that have gone on, we think it’s important to emphasize the need for a diverse student body.”

Last year, GSA and Senate passed a resolution formally supporting the University in the Supreme Court case Fisher v. The University of Texas. Cavazos said the resolution was created to emphasize Senate and GSA’s support for the University, as well to create a broader resolution focusing less on the Supreme Court Case and more on the policy of affirmative action.

“We want to emphasize that these policies themselves really create a diverse campus, and we really need to emphasize that for our students,” Cavazos said. “I think that’s where the biggest difference is. Last year was very precedent-oriented and making sure we supported UT’s stance on the case.”

There are three legislative student assemblies on campus: Senate, GSA and Student Government. SG is currently not included in the joint resolution, which Cavazos said was due to SG’s resolution supporting a ban of the Young Conservatives of Texas from UT that was voted down on Tuesday.

“We felt, Senate and GSA did, that we’re strictly related to academics, and we were staying in our lane so to speak by passing this and same with GSA,” Cavazos said. “There’s always room to collaboration, but we know they had a very different resolution, and we didn’t want to intertwine them.”

Before the joint resolution was introduced, the assembly voted unanimously to pass Senate Resolution 1607 in support of creating a centralized financial aid handbook.

Senate vice president Austin Reynolds said he co-authored the resolution to reduce confusion when students first apply for financial aid at UT.

“For a lot of people that have used financial aid before, it is a very confusing process,” Reynolds said. “We wanted to consolidate all the necessary information into a handbook, a PDF, so you wouldn’t have to print it out, and it would be available on the financial aid website.”

Government freshman Lillian Bonin, the other co-author of SR 1607, said she authored the resolution to address the issues she encountered when applying for financial aid prior to entering the University. 

“This was very, very personal to me, and this came to mind because I am here on a grant scholarship,” Bonin said. “While I was trying to find out about [my grant] there was no information available on the website, and I was told different things by the financial aid office. So this is me and Austin [Reynolds] coming together on an idea because we’ve both had really bad experiences with financial aid.”