Student Government representatives proposed a resolution for UT President Gregory Fenves to approve Longhorn Emergency Medical Services’ transition to a University-sponsored organization last night, three weeks after he declined the same request.
Assembly Resolution 16 declares support for Longhorn EMS and calls for an annual University-funded budget for the organization and two reserved on-campus spaces. Longhorn EMS is a SG agency of certified student first responders on campus.
“My hope is that with the passage of this legislation, we will be able to have another talk with the president’s office … so that we can further address any concerns that they might have,” said Natalie Engel, resolution co-author and social work senior. Austin-Travis County EMS has a current campus emergency response time of about 9.2 minutes, chief of Longhorn EMS Gavin Sussman said. Sussman, a public health senior, said Longhorn EMS could reduce response time to a third of the Austin-Travis County EMS time.
“We foresee that … being a campus-dedicated resource, we’d be able to get that 9.2 minute response time down to two-and-a-half to three minutes,” Sussman said.
The organization petitioned to become a University-sponsored, on-campus organization earlier this month but was declined by Fenves.
Aside from policy conflicts between an existing EMS organization at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus in North Austin, Fenves expressed worry that students might be less likely to call for assistance if they know students will be responding and liability concerns with student responders being injured on the job.
Sussman said the proposed implementation plan includes an insurance budget in case of injury on the job. He also said in research, his team has noted that students are actually more likely to call for assistance knowing that students would be among the first responders.
Ben Solder, College of Natural Sciences representative, authored the resolution with Engel. Solder said SG is meant to serve as a voice for the students and this resolution reflects campus wishes.
“I guess in this way, (SG is) going to serve as kind of a megaphone,” neuroscience junior Solder said. “It’s not necessarily that they’re going to listen to us for sure, but we want to bring up all of the counter-arguments to the University’s concerns, and we want to bring them up through our giant megaphone.”
The resolution was referred to the Student Affairs Committee for later debate.