The Student Government Assembly passed four pieces of legislation on Tuesday night, including a resolution to support undocumented students that was introduced last week.
After a debate from opposition, the Student Government Assembly passed Assembly Resolution 14, which advocates for the support of undocumented students and raising emergency funds for them. It also calls for congressional action to pass legislation to protect “Dreamers,” recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
Liberal arts representative Jordan Cope, an international relations and global studies senior, voiced his concern about taking sides in the undocumented student issue.
“One of my biggest campaign promises when I ran was to make sure I would try to help intellectual and academic freedom on campus by not taking any sides in any political matters that manage to find their way into student government,” Cope said. “My opposition to this resolution does not necessarily represent my personal views on undocumented students.”
SG chief of staff Santiago Rosales, who co-authored the resolution, responded to this concern by stressing SG’s responsibility to undocumented students.
“At the end of the day, the student government body has, in years past and even recently, taken stances in support of undocumented students because one of their primary qualifiers is that they’re people,” Rosales said. “The fact that they’re in this space means they deserve advocacy from the body that is elected from them.”
Government junior Jacob Peña, the other author on the resolution, added that they are not the only ones advocating for support of undocumented students.
“President (Gregory) Fenves and Chancellor (William) McRaven have both made statements on (DACA),” Peña said. “For a majority of issues, they remain apolitical. They don’t often comment or take sides. But here, they are supporting their students. I think that’s something we would like SG to do as well.”
SG also introduced Assembly Bill 5, which would amend SG’s attendance policy with the hopes of improving the attendance record of its representatives. The amendment includes limiting unexcused absences to two per semester, after which the representative would meet with the organization’s Ethics and Oversight Committee.
“You ran for these positions,” said social work senior Natalie Engel, who co-authored the bill. “It is important that you are here to represent the people who voted for you. Last year we had a problem with attendance, and we got called out for it. We have to fix that.”
In addition, SG unanimously passed Assembly Bill 4, which creates a single pool for all financial rollovers from SG committees.
SG internal financial director Eric Saldanha, who authored the bill said that the bill was important to alleviate issues SG has had in the past.
“Rollover, as you know, is pretty high,” Saldanha said. “There was a Daily Texan article last semester calling us out for it, so this bill is going to help us with that and make ourselves more financially accountable.”
SG also approved four committee appointments.