Andrew Houston

Student government representative Stephen Vincent voices his concerns regarding the AR 16 resolution at the Student Government Assembly meeting Tuesday evening. The AR 16 resolution passed and represents UT’s support of undocumented students.  

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

A resolution regarding undocumented students was passed by a vote of 18-9-2 at the Student Government Assembly meeting Tuesday, where over 50 students were in attendance in the gallery.

The resolution in question, entitled AR 16 — “In Support of Undocumented Students and Undocumented Longhorns Week” — outlines SG’s recognition of the importance of all undocumented students at UT and Undocumented Longhorns Week, which took place last week. It was first introduced on Oct. 8, when it was referred to the Legislative Affairs Committee. The resolution was re-referred to the committee at the meeting the following week.   

Leaders from Young Conservatives of Texas, Longhorn Libertarians and Republicans of Texas submitted a letter addressed to SG representatives asking them to vote against AR 16 Tuesday in order to provide a voice to the “silent majority” on campus.

During debate, Andrew Houston, architecture and urban studies senior and chair of the rules and regulation committee, moved to amend the resolution and change the title to “In Recognition of Undocumented Students and Undocumented Longhorns Week.” The amendment failed by a vote of 11-20.

“I believe that there are other ways to support undocumented students, both within the resolution itself and by actions taken by student government,” Houston said.

Government freshman Kallen Dimitroff said she thinks that by voting to pass the resolution, the assembly would be supporting an impassioned portion of the community.

“I think saying ‘yes’ speaks a lot louder of us and our character as student leaders than saying ‘no’ does,” Dimitroff said.

Christopher Jordan, McCombs representative and business and English major, said he thinks representatives opposed to the legislation fully support undocumented students but have issues with the wording of the resolution.

“I support this cause,” Jordan said. “What I don’t support is this resolution — this alarmingly partisan resolution.”

Jordan said he attended the Legislative Affairs Committee meetings discussing AR 16, and said members of the committee and authors of the resolution did not allow representatives opposed to the bill to make any amendments. Economics junior Stephen Vincent proposed an amendment during the final debate Tuesday to alter the wording of the resolution. The amendment failed following a vote of 9-21.

Danny Zeng, government and finance senior and president of College Republicans, said he thinks the resolution should be put up for a referendum.

“Take [this] into consideration: This is a political opinion, and I challenge the proponents of the resolution to tell me straight to my face that this has nothing to do with being political,” Zeng said.

In the debate, Ugeo Williams, SG vice president, said one of his close friends is an undocumented student.

“I honestly just believe that they’re asking for support. Remember, we don’t make laws,” Williams said. “They’re just asking for support.”

 

Watch a Daily Texan multimedia presentation on undocumented students here

Photo Credit: Marshall Nolen | Daily Texan Staff

At the Student Government Assembly meeting Tuesday, a future resolution was announced that calls for the elimination of government stipends given to all executive branch members. The resolution will be filed at the next assembly meeting.   

The SG budget outlines a tuition allotment for the president and vice president of $5,200 each, as well as a government stipend of $6,840 each. It also details a $3,420 stipend for each of the other five executive branch members. The resolution would only affect the stipends.

According to Andrew Houston, architecture and urban studies senior and chair of the rules and regulation committee, the funds for the stipend take up about 36 percent of SG’s entire budget.

John Brown, government sophomore and one author of the resolution, said he thinks the stipends are unnecessary.

“I’m not out to get anybody, I’m just trying to equalize the playing field,” Brown said. “It’s unnecessary to have those stipends. I know [the executive branch] is open to doing something like this.”

Houston said similar resolutions in the past were unsuccessful, but this resolution has a good chance of succeeding because of SG’s emphasis on its role as an educational opportunity for all students.

“There are also people within the assembly, almost every year, who intend on trying to run or becoming part of the executive branch in the future, so they kill [the resolution] so that they don’t ruin the opportunity for themselves,” Houston said.

Brown said the resolution currently has no sponsors, but he hopes to see more active involvement from the members of the assembly.

Student Government passed legislation Tuesday in support of The Daily Texan continuing to print five days a week. 

The legislation states that although the Texan has been experiencing financial difficulties because of decreasing advertising sales in recent years — with revenue decreasing to less than $1.3 million, down from $2.1 million in 2007 — reducing the print schedule would only further hurt the newspaper’s revenue.

Assembly chairwoman Crystal Zhao, government and communication studies senior, and Andrew Houston, architecture and urban studies senior, helped write the legislation. Zhao said they presented the issue to the assembly because the newspaper is important to express student concerns. 

The Texas Student Media Board will meet Friday at 1 p.m.

“Student opinions are often voiced through The Daily Texan and issues with great impact are often broadcasted via the print newspaper,” Zhao said. “To skip even a day of print news equals risking the opportunity to become informed about significant events that can occur in as little as 24 hours.”

Houston said he hopes this legislation spurs action from those outside of the newspaper, including alumni, to continue the daily print publication.

“Through this legislation I hope that we can create a larger dialogue between The Daily Texan, Texas Student Media and students to come up with a solution for the funding issue,” Houston said. “I’m not oblivious to the fact that print is becoming increasingly passe, but at the same time we aren’t in the position to cut the most vital part of The Daily Texan.”

Published on February 27, 2013 as "SG supports daily print publication".