Student Government approves adding MEC representatives to improve diversity, support for former student

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University-wide representative Ryan Chandler speaks in front of the last session of the 112th Student Government Assembly. Chandler, a sophomore, proposed a resolution that aimed to help a homeless former UT student finish his degree.

Photo Credit: George Wunch | Daily Texan Staff

At the final meeting for the 112th Student Government assembly, members approved resolutions supporting athletic stadium metal detectors and a former UT student who lives in subsidized housing, as well as an assembly bill instituting Multicultural Engagement Center representatives.

University-wide representative Ryan Chandler presented Assembly Resolution 16, which serves to support a man named David Richard Carter. Chandler said Carter, who asks for money at 24th Street and Guadalupe Street, attended UT in the 1970s for nine semesters. He completed more than 87 credit hours as a studio art student, and now he wants to return to UT and obtain his degree. 

“The point of this bill is to show the administration that he has support from students,” said Chandler, a journalism and government sophomore who worked at The Daily Texan last semester. “(We want to try to) spur the process along so that we can actually get him into a meeting, so we can determine whether he is viable and able to actually obtain the degree that would change the rest of his life.”

Chandler said Carter experienced drug and alcohol abuse during his time at UT, which led to a debilitating injury that left him unable to graduate. He later developed schizophrenia but eventually overcame his substance abuse. Despite these past struggles, Chandler said he believes Carter can finish the education he started years ago.

“He is entirely capable of this first because he is brilliant,” Chandler said. “All he wants to do is study and write a book and get a degree and go into academia. But that is his only goal. He has been an academic all his life. Every time I talk to him … his favorite topic is talking about all the books that he reads and all the research that he does.”

 

The bill was fast tracked, meaning members came back to vote on it after other legislation was approved. Members passed the bill supporting Carter.

The other approved legislation included Assembly Bill 16, which will create a pilot program for Multicultural Engagement Center representatives. When proposed on March 5, the bill said two seats would be given to each of the six agencies within the Center, though this was changed to one seat per agency.

“A lot of this comes down to the hindrances, the obstacles and the difficulties of running for SG reps and winning those campaigns,” said Trip Davis, deputy director and communication studies sophomore. “There are years where they’re very competitive races. There are years where people across every seat do not make it into the assembly, and during those years, you can see a very homogeneous assembly, one that does not reflect the various identities of the University, (does) not reflect the various backgrounds and ensuring that the assembly is representative … can only improve their advocacy efforts.”

Members also approved Assembly Resolution 14, which supports metal detectors in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and all other athletic stadiums. The detectors should be installed in two to three years, said Longhorn legislative aide Brian Chavez at the March 5 meeting.