College Councils

Plan II and English Senior David Engleman speaks at a Senate of College Councils meeting in Feb. 2014. 

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

The Senate of College Councils passed two bills in February that altered its nomination processes before the 2015 elections, which will take place March 12.

The Senate created and passed SB 1408 on Feb. 26 during the nominations general assembly meeting. The bill allows any council or general assembly member to be nominated for a Senate position, if at least two-thirds of councils vote to allow the motion.

During the nominations general assembly meeting, there were originally no nominees for the position of financial director, which was a problem most members had never encountered, according to current financial director David Engleman. This absence of candidates prompted the bill.

Two candidates who met the eligibility requirements did step up during the meeting, but the Senate decided to pass the bill regardless, Engleman said. 

“The discussion became about, ‘Should we open up eligibility requirements to run for one of these positions?’” Engleman said. “Ultimately, the vote was made to do that.”

The Undergraduate Business Council was one of the two councils that voted to oppose the bill.

“We voted against it out of principle,” said Adam Petras, Undergraduate Business Council president. “When Senate wants to be reformed, it’s something that should be thought about in advance. We didn’t think about it enough.”

The total discussion of the bill took 20 minutes, whereas a normal proposal for change usually takes up to two weeks. There was no real discussion about potential conflicts or problems that may arise from the passing of the bill, according to Petras.

“[The bill] might not have any impact in normal situations,” Petras said. “But it opens up the possibility for less qualified and less experienced applicants running for Senate.”

The Senate also unanimously passed SB 1405 on Feb. 12 to modify the nomination process. The original nomination process required all nominations to occur during the second-to-last general assembly meeting in February. However, since the spring semester resumed one week later than usual this year, candidates running for Senate president, vice president and financial director had a shorter campaign period. 

To accommodate for the time lost, the Senate passed SB 1405, which stated that all nominations can happen at any general assembly meeting in February, with one month of prior notice.

“Bill 1405 allows for more flexibility, giving members more time to choose nominees and giving nominees more time to campaign,” Senate president Geetika Jerath said.

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

In an effort to find ways to ease transfer students’ social and academic transition to the University, the Senate of College Councils formed an ad hoc committee to address the issue.

The Transfer Student Ad-Hoc Committee, which is open to both Senate and non-Senate members, met for the first time Thursday to set an outline of which issues are most important for transfer students. At the meeting, the students discussed the possibility of a transfer student services office, an extended transfer student orientation and the tracking of transfer students. Students also spoke about their personal experiences and concerns.

Committee co-chair Corey Hayford said transfer students lack these resources on campus.

“When you’re talking about a population that is that large, and for them not to have the resources offered to other students, I think that’s a key issue that needs to be addressed,” said Hayford, who transferred to UT from St. Edward’s University.

The committee is divided up into subcommittees for CAP and PACE, external transfers and internal transfers. The committees will submit proposals that will then be examined and potentially implemented.

“We’d like for each group to do their own research and have a proposal set up by April, so we can thoroughly do the research we need to do,” Hayford said.

When the new Senate session starts, Hayford said he hopes the committee will become its own Senate agency, a group that reports to Senate but operates somewhat

George Bennett, a computer science junior who is not a member of Senate, said he joined the committee because he thinks transfer students lack the same resources as freshman and don’t get basic information, such as how to register for classes, explained in enough detail.

“Personally, I had a lot of negative experiences with orientation and things like that — that they kind of walk freshmen through but that they don’t really do that for transfer students,” Bennett said.

One of the topics the committee discussed is transfer credit. Hayford said many students lose credit because the University does not make it clear to transfer students what courses do not transfer from outside institutions.

“My experience hasn’t really been that bad because I’m going to graduate in the summer, so just a little over four years [without] losing a lot of credit,” Hayford said. “But I have been around a lot of students who have had a bad experience and who have not had the proper resources.”

Hayford said the biggest problem for internal transfer students is the lack of access to restricted classes required for a given major.

“The major issue with internal transfers is that the applications for the internal transfer process are not read until June and you pick classes in April,” Hayford said. “If you’re not in that college in April, then you’re not able to register for those restricted classes.”

The committee is also looking into aiding transfers with social adjustment to UT by creating a transfer student Camp Texas, an extended orientation that adds social activities to the orientation and resource and career fairs.

“There are not a lot of transfer student organizations and stuff for transfer students on campus,” said Nick Sajatovic, co-chair of the committee. “They definitely don’t feel at home right away when they come here, like freshmen do.”

As the official voice of students in academic affairs, the Senate of College Councils has been working hard this year to enhance the academic sphere of UT in various ways.

We kicked off the year with our annual Academic Expo, during which students learned more about Senate’s internal structure and our initiatives. Since then, our six committees have been working on university-wide events and legislation. Recently, our Academic Integrity Committee hosted IntegrityUT Week, a weeklong celebration of academic integrity and the new honor code that Senate helped to create. We hosted a series of Lunch and Learns with distinguished faculty and administrators, including President Powers. A thousand students received t-shirts with the new honor code to wear on test days to promote academic integrity. More than a thousand students also memorized the honor code and signed a huge honor code board to show their commitment. President Powers also signed it to support our students. During Senate’s last General Assembly, we passed legislation to include the new honor code and a statement regarding Student Judicial Services’ procedures on syllabi.

We have many more academic themed weeks and initiatives coming up. The Faculty Affairs Committee is planning Faculty Appreciation Week 2015 and are soliciting applications for Professors and TAs of the Month. The Undergraduate Research Committee is currently seeking applicants for a $1000 undergraduate research grant and planning for Research Week 2015. The Recruitment and Retention Committee is preparing to host Ready Set Go, a college readiness program for high school students. They are also leading our recently announced Transfer Student Ad-Hoc Committee, which will include a working group and focus groups for transfer student issues. We passed legislation and are hoping to create a Transfer Student Experience Program within the First Year Experience Office in order to promote resources and four-year graduation rates for transfer students.

In November, the Academic Enrichment Committee will be hosting Academic Enrichment Week, which will include events about internships, study abroad, research, and academic service learning. On November 19, the Academic Policy Committee with the Undergraduate Studies Council will host our first Student Series Campus Conversation on Technology in Higher Education from 5-7pm in the Gregory Gym Games Room. We invite every student to attend and participate. We hope students will share their opinions concerning these university-wide issues. We hope to create new legislation based on these conversations and report recommendations to UT’s future president.

Our coordinators are working hard this year to support the mission of Senate from managing our media and outreach efforts to implementing legislation previously passed in our assembly concerning faculty exit surveys, an online handbook, and supporting student ownership of intellectual property among other pieces.

In addition to our internal work and efforts to support our 20 college councils, Senate is a part of Invest in Texas, a student lobbying campaign at the Texas Legislature with the GSA and SG. Our Invest in Texas Co-Director is planning for our Invest in Texas Day at the Capitol and will be reaching out to our student body to identify student priorities. We plan to also engage other UT System Schools during this process.

At the beginning of the year, we welcomed 50 new At-Large members into Senate. They are pursuing their own individual initiatives which include expanding the FRI model to other colleges, creating an IntegrityUT Campaign, tackling registration issues, creating a medical excuse policy, streamlining the pre-law program and more!

 We encourage all students to connect with us through our website,, or through social media by following us on Facebook and @utscc on Twitter. Our General Assemblies are every other Thursday at 7pm in the SAC Legislative Assembly Room with our next one on November 13th. Our meetings are open to any student and we would love to hear about your ideas for legislation or events.

We look forward to serving the student body through various events, initiatives, and legislation pieces. We are launching some big surprises in the coming months, so stay tuned! In Senate, what starts here changes the university.

Jerath is the president of the Senate of College Councils. She is an international relations and global studies senior from Friendswood.

Photo Credit: Mike McGraw | Daily Texan Staff

The Senate of College Councils passed a resolution at a meeting Thursday requesting the University require the honor code be placed on all course syllabuses. With its passing, the resolution will be submitted to the Faculty Council for review. 

In 2012, the Senate of College Councils changed the University’s academic honor code to read: “As a student of the University of Texas at Austin, I shall abide by the core values of the University and uphold academic integrity.”  

“That’s something that every student looks at, and that’s a contract between a student and a professor,” said Sasha Parsons, at-large Senate representative and author of the resolution. “So, there’s no better place to have it right now.”

According to the Senate President Geetika Jerath, current syllabuses have a section included about academic dishonesty, but it is usually outdated, written by a specific department or not consistent across the University. Jerath said the goal of the resolution is to establish a consistent honor statement in all University syllabuses and open a dialogue about how it varies for individual professors.

“We need to have discussions,” Jerath said. “[Academic integrity] differs from each college, each class. There are different components to each classroom — whether it has technology or not. So, we really wanted to start that discussion and have something feasible to work on.”

Many students do not know what happens when one is accused of academic dishonesty, but having information about Student Judicial Services in syllabuses would clarify that process, according to Parsons.

“We really want students to understand the repercussions if they do something wrong, but also who’s there to help them,” Parsons said.

Parsons said the honor code will help to maintain the value of a student’s education at UT.

“We’re here to get degrees and certification that we have learned something,” Parsons said.

At the meeting Thursday, representatives suggested to the authors that a statement be added to the resolution requesting that professors define what academic dishonesty is in their specific course, but the amendment did not pass.

Shannon Geison, at-large Senate representative and author of the resolution, said personal professor statements should be discussed in a later bill, after more research has been done.

“I think that all of the opposition that we have seen has just been trying to have professors provide more definitions and having them address these things, like technology in the classroom,” Geison said. “Which are things we are definitely talking about but coming at a later date.”

Geison said these statements should include integrity policies on the use of technology — such as Google Docs, QUEST and Spark Notes — in the classroom. The topic will be discussed on Nov. 19 at a Campus Conversation meeting hosted by the Senate’s Academic Policy Committee.

According to Parsons, some students have expressed concerns that having the honor code in a syllabus will not change academic dishonesty, but she said it would with time.

“We just have to realize that everything is a gradual process, and it’s about the attitude people have and talking about integrity and the hard decisions we make in college,” Parsons said.

Biology pre-med senior Hamidat Momoh writes honesty and discipline as her definition for integrity during the annual Integrity UT Week on Thursday. Integrity Week is held by the Senate of College Councils to raise awareness of the honor code and emphasize integrity.

Photo Credit: Cristina Fernandez | Daily Texan Staff

The Senate of College Councils is holding its annual Integrity UT Week, which runs through Friday, to promote academic integrity inside the classroom and raise awareness of the University’s honor code.

According to Robert Guajardo, biology senior and the Senate’s Academic Integrity Committee co-chair, the main goal of Integrity Week is to make it easier for students to know the honor code and the consequences that come when they break it. He said the week consists of four days of tabling, in which students get the opportunity to receive prizes by reciting the honor code and take a picture with the integrity board, which will later be posted on Facebook.

“This is an eye-opening week because I can see how much change Integrity Week could cause,” Guajardo said. “There is a tremendous amount of change in how many students know the honor code.”

Since the University changed its honor code two years ago, Guajardo said Integrity Week also helps upperclassmen be aware of the new honor code. According to Guajardo, the honor code was changed to be more concise and easier for students to recognize.

“Now that the honor code has been changed, we want students to know it better than they would before,” Guajardo said.

Guajardo said the week also consists of different luncheons in which faculty guest speakers talk about what integrity means to them. According to Guajardo, it also involves an event at the Perry-Castañeda Library, “Integrity: Pass It On,” in which the Senate members pass on blue books that have the honor code on the back. He said they also project the honor code on the exterior of the PCL.

“All of these activities are meant for students to either memorize or learn the honor code,” said Elizabeth Roach, history freshman and Senate at-large member. “We also encourage students to wear our T-shirts on test days, which becomes a subtle reminder of integrity.”

At Thursday’s luncheon, President William Powers Jr. talked about the importance of the honor code to the University.

“This is a great university and there’s a lot of things to be proud of,” Powers said. “We play fair, and we know that rules are for people with integrity, which is something that’s promoted with the honor code.”

According to Guajardo, the Senate gives away 1,000 shirts each year to students who are interested in learning the honor code.    

“Integrity Week brings awareness to the honor code,” said Ryan Shu, business sophomore and Senate of College Councils at-large member. “I have seen that it does make a difference.”

Guajardo also said students get the opportunity to express what integrity means to them.

“To me, integrity means not being afraid to do the right thing,” neuroscience freshman Toyana Niraula said.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

As past and current student leaders at the University of Texas at Austin, we have followed the controversy surrounding certain members of the UT System Board of Regents and our president, William Powers Jr., for over three years. 

We attended the Board of Regents meeting in December 2013 while studying for finals during a closed-door session. Sitting and waiting for hours longer than expected to hear Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s recommendation regarding Powers’ employment was extremely stressful and tense. We were relieved to hear his support for Powers as we sat in a room full of students, alumni, prominent officials and Powers himself. Yet despite recommending that Powers remain the president of UT-Austin just six months ago, it has been reported that Cigarroa delivered an ultimatum to Powers on July 2 to resign immediately or be fired Thursday. Worst of all, delivering the ultimatum during a holiday-shortened week in the middle of the summer certainly appears to be an attempt to remove Powers while few are on campus to respond. 

As former UT System general counsel Barry Burgdorf said in his testimony before the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations last year, it was the “clear intent” of some regents to “get rid of Bill Powers” as UT’s president. It is clear that this latest salvo is yet another attempt by those who do not have the best interests of the University at heart. Their methods have succeeded only in detracting from our mission of educating students to be the leaders of tomorrow and carrying out cutting-edge research expected of a tier one University.

The students are the lifeblood of this university. This ultimatum does not serve our best interests. Instead, it disrespects a successful university president who has continuously directed UT to epitomize a “university of the first class.”

The students of UT-Austin have continually made our position clear. In response to a similar situation last year, the Senate of College Councils and Student Government passed Joint Resolution 1, “In Support of President Powers’ Vision for the University of Texas at Austin.” This support is unchanged, and we are disheartened and disappointed by Cigarroa’s ultimatum. For this action to be perpetrated by a chancellor who has already announced his resignation, and while the University is quiet for the summer, reveals its self-destructive motives. To date, no reason has been provided by Cigarroa as to why the ultimatum was delivered, but it is clear why it is injudicious. 

Powers has proved his commitment and his ability to serve as an outstanding leader time and time again. He spearheaded the first core curriculum reform in 25 years and created the School of Undergraduate Studies. He is leading an unprecedented $3 billion dollar capital campaign. He was selected by his peers to serve as the Chairman of the Association of American Universities, an immense honor that brings pride to our University. Through President Powers’ leadership, UT-Austin has been ranked No. 27 in the world by Times Higher Education. As we look to the future, he is in the process of creating the first medical school at a tier one university in several decades. His tenure as president has been consistently filled with success that has vaulted UT into the arena of the world’s elite universities, all during the most trying times higher education has ever seen.

These accomplishments do not go unnoticed at our University. 

After news of this ultimatum broke, we started a petition in support of Powers that has received over 6,000 signatures during a holiday weekend. The Faculty Council has called an emergency meeting for Wednesday to reiterate its unequivocal support for Powers with the chairwoman noting that faculty are as unanimous as she has seen in 27 years in their support. Newly minted president of the Texas Exes, former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, notified all Texas Exes that “a forced resignation or firing would be a travesty for UT” and alumni should “stand up and fight” for the University’s stature. Students too have expressed their support for Powers in large numbers on social media. Even after an attempt to minimize exposure of this ultimatum, Longhorns everywhere have rallied in a powerful way. 

The Board of Regents should remember that its fiduciary duty is to do what is best for UT-Austin. Let our message be clear: Powers is what is best for our University, and he deserves much better. It is now more important than ever that Longhorns everywhere come together and stand with Powers.

Jerath is president of the Senate of College Councils. Clark is president emeritus of the Senate of College Councils. Rady is president of Student Government. Villarreal is president emeritus of Student Government.


Plan II sophomore David Engleman, international and global studies junior Geetika Jerath, and marketing and sociology junior Yaneli Rubio were elected to the three open positions in the Senate of College Councils on Thursday evening.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

The Senate of College Councils elected Geetika Jerath as its next president on Thursday.

Along with Jerath, Senate elected Yaneli Rubio as vice president and David Engleman as financial director. Both Jerath and Engleman are in the Liberal Arts Council. 

Senate is a legislative student organization representing 20 college councils at the University. Elections are conducted internally, with each council allotted one vote to select the organization’s leaders.

Jerath, an international and global studies junior, has been involved in Senate since her freshman year and is currently in the Liberal Arts Council, a role she said makes her qualified to work with external and internal parts of Senate.

“Not only do I have internal experience, but I’m also in a council,” Jerath said. “I know the direction Senate needs to go. I have innovative practices that I would like to see, and I know how to get us there.”

Jerath said she hopes to develop a branding campaign and a strong presence at the Capitol.

“I have a very unique vision for Senate next year,” Jerath said. “It will definitely be a change that I think the University and Senate needs to see for the future.”

Rubio, a marketing and sociology junior, said her experience in Senate and other organizations qualifies her for vice president.

After spending her last semester studying abroad in Paris, Rubio said she returned with a fresh mind.

“I think studying abroad helps me a lot because I was able to step away from university politics, which a lot of university leaders get caught up in,” Rubio said.

Rubio said as vice president she hopes to improve orientation. Her experience as an orientation advisor inspired her to seek feedback from students to help the program grow.

Engleman, a Plan II sophomore, said his experience as financial director of Liberal Arts Council has prepared him for the role of Senate financial director. He said he will guarantee that all councils will receive a fair allocation of Senate funds each year. 

“A major focus of my position this year and my position next year is to maintain and build strong relationships with the staff that help the financial directors do their job,” Engleman said.

Senate president Andrew Clark said he felt all candidates were qualified for their positions. Clark said serving as both vice president and president during his time in the organization taught him that Senate needs leaders who can handle difficult situations and are able to respond to things quickly.

“There’s no better way to learn how to do something like this than just get in there and do it,” Clark said. “Everybody gets to put their own stamp on the organization, which I think is the best part about it.”

The existing UT System Intellectual Property Policy will be revised to clarify language discussing ownership of student ideas and creations following legislation passed in the Senate of College Councils.

Intellectual property refers to a wide range of ideas and research products, including discoveries, inventions, writings and software produced by University employees and students. In certain situations, the UT System Board of Regents or a specific University owns intellectual property created by its employees under conditions outlined in the UT System Intellectual Property Policy.

Meagan Abel, academic policy committee co-chair and author of the legislation, said there are no clearly stated guidelines in the policy for addressing cases involving students.

“The focus of the legislation was this idea that when students come up with an idea that is profitable and patentable, how can they go through the motions of having that done?” Abel said. “We would like the policy to have clear language that references students.”

Currently, the policy states its guidelines apply to System and University employees, and “anyone using the facilities or resources of the UT System or any UT System institution, including, but not limited to, students enrolled at a UT System institution.” The body of the policy addresses the procedures in place regarding intellectual property generated by employees, but does not include language overtly addressing the property of students. 

The Senate submitted the legislation to the System after it was passed in November. Abel said she hopes a change in the wording of the policy will encourage students to pursue research and the development of their ideas.

“With seeing how much students are creating software and apps, we just felt that there’s a larger amount of students in a capacity to create things that are in this gray zone of ‘is it copyrighted’ or ‘is it patented, and if it’s patented what’s the policy’, all of that,” Abel said. “We feel that the climate isn’t moving in such a way that students would feel inclined to create some of these things.”

Juan Sanchez, the University’s vice president for research, said he met with members of the UT System and Daniel Sharphorn, UT System Interim vice chancellor and general counsel, on Oct. 11 to discuss the possibility of addressing student intellectual property in existing policies.

“As far as I know, the University of Texas at Austin has never ever claimed IP that we believe belongs to a student,” Sanchez said. “It’s just that the policy is not clear about it, and it creates confusion unnecessarily. I think that aligning the wording of the policy with practice and what we think is the right thing is good policy.”

According to Sanchez, Jim Phillips, a UT System attorney, said the System is planning to address concerns raised in the legislation.

“[Phillips] told me they’re working on either modifying the IP Policy, which will probably need to go to the Board of Regents, or issuing a clarification that we, the campuses and the students, can use,” Sanchez said. “It is in their hands. I think there is general agreement as to which way we should go, and that’s all I know at this point.” 

Sanchez said he thinks by clarifying the regulations regarding student intellectual property the University will potentially influence policies at other schools as well.

“I think it is extremely important to pursue this issue because I believe that most universities in the U.S. are overreaching when they claim the intellectual property of students who are not employees of the University,” Sanchez said. “I think that we will be making significant progress for the entire community if we are very, very clear and explicit about that.”

In her visit to the Senate of College Councils last Thursday, Student Regent Ashley Purgason was quick to say that online courses “are here to stay.” More grim than enthusiastic, she assured students that online courses represented the way of the future and that faculty and students are being actively consulted about the courses’ development. The students, for the most part, seemed nonplussed by this announcement.

Why is online learning the way of the future? When I asked other students if they like online courses, their responses universally lukewarm included the following: The courses are easy to game. They’re what you make of them. They’re easier. One student responded by saying he had never taken an online class, only to remember that he had, and the experience had been so unremarkable that he had completely forgotten about it.

They had all taken online courses. Why? Because they were accessible, and these students needed the course credits the online courses provided to complete their real-life degrees. 

The accessibility of online courses makes ignoring their rise impossible (or at least foolish). And the UT System has already made a move to develop online courses. Last October, UT invested $10 million in the nonprofit online course platform edX, joining Harvard, MIT and the University of California at Berkeley in developing massive, open online courses that could be taken for free — although not for credit — by anyone in the world. The move, as The Texas Tribune reported, was praised by Gov. Rick Perry, who said that the partnership was “great news for Texas” and “exactly the type of effort [he hopes] more schools will consider.” 

The editorial board of this paper, however, took a more skeptical view, saying that “fully online courses, like those that will be offered through edX, are as yet unproven substitutes for in-person learning.” The UT System would be wise, suggested the editorial, to provide a vision for what online learning might look like before they pony up the money for a new delivery system. 

In the five months since the partnership, eight more universities have jumped on the edX bandwagon, including Australian National University, Wellesley College, and Rice University. UT is planning to launch four courses through the edX platform in the fall. Given the enduring appeal of online courses and the suggestion last Thursday by Purgason that they are the future, what should a brick-and-mortar university like UT do to prepare for the rise of online education? 

When asked about how UT-Austin can better prepare for the rise of online courses, Harisson Keller, vice provost for higher education policy and research, suggested that UT do three things: Engage faculty and students in course development, establish new partnerships with other educational institutions, and invest in technological infrastructure on campus. I suggest we do a fourth: Define the values of a UT education we want to persevere in this rapidly changing educational climate. 

What do I mean by values? I mean, how much do you value sitting in a Welch lecture hall and listening to your professor speak? How much do you value retrieving a book from the PCL stacks or studying in the Hogwarts-esque Battle Hall reading room? How much do you value living in an on-campus dorm like Jester?

All these are linked to the idea of college as a campus-centric experience in which you interact face-to-face with other students and your professors. And while I could never claim that online courses present an immediate threat to this experience (edX courses aren’t even offered for credit, after all), every day a student completes their coursework online, from home, is a day they don’t come to campus and walk past the Tower, past the South Mall, past 60,000 other students who have come from somewhere else to learn here, in a classroom on the 40 Acres, instead of through a website that just happens to bear the school’s name. 

Wright is a Plan II and biology junior from San Antonio.

Student Regent Ashley Purgason expresses her dedication to the students and the university as a whole during a student Senate meeting Thursday evening.

Photo Credit: Pearce Murphy | Daily Texan Staff

The Senate of College Councils showed unanimous support Thursday for legislation to limit the powers of university system boards of regents across the state and elected a new president after the previous president-elect resigned earlier this month.

A bill filed in the Texas Senate would amend state laws to allocate all duties and responsibilities not specifically granted to university systems or governing boards to the individual institutions of that system. 

The resolution passed minutes after Student Regent Ashley Purgason spoke to the student Senate regarding the regents’ relationship to UT, among other topics. 

The vote also came one day after the UT System Board of Regents voted 4-3 to conduct a new external review of the UT Law School Foundation’s relationship with UT as part of an ongoing investigation of the foundation. In 2011, Powers instructed Larry Sager, then dean of the School of Law, to resign as dean after Sager received a forgivable loan of $500,000 from the foundation. Sager still holds a faculty position in the Law School. An internal audit of the foundation conducted by System General Counsel Barry Burgdorf, who resigned earlier this month, found that the loan was conducted in an inappropriate manner.

Michael Morton, Senate of College Councils outgoing president, said the investigation into the foundation was valid but the ongoing conflict between the regents and Powers is “petty.”

“At some point, we need to all realize this is not the best interest of students if we’re just spending money trying to dig up information so we can settle a political grudge or what have you,” Morton said.

The Senate will send the resolution to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Straus and higher education leaders in both houses of the Texas Legislature.

Purgason, who was not present at Wednesday’s regents’ meeting and is not a voting member, told the Senate that she stands by her fellow regents’ decision to conduct the additional audit.

“I want to be very, very clear that everyone on the board, and I do mean everybody, loves this campus dearly,” Purgason said. “Truly, we have your best interests at heart. I realize that sometimes it seems that there are tensions or you’re not being put first, but I promise you that every action that’s taken is done out of the love for this University.”

Also during the meeting, the Senate elected Andrew Clark, international relations and global studies and history senior, as the new president in a special election. Clark replaced Ryan Hirsch as president-elect after Hirsch resigned earlier this month.

Clark said he would prioritize staffing the five members of the Senate’s executive board and 16 committee chairs before he and his fellow officers take office April 18.

“There’s a lot of lost time to make up for,” Clark said.