Student Government passed an assembly resolution Tuesday night supporting an apology to Wallace Hall, a former UT System regent, and an assembly bill permanently establishing the Gender Inclusivity Coalition in the Code of Rules and Procedures.
The assembly resolution, proposed April 9, encourages SG to apologize to Hall, who investigated UT’s admissions procedures and served on the UT System Board of Regents from 2011 to 2017. Hall was censured for his actions, and there was an attempt to impeach him from his office, said Connor Ellington, at-large graduate representative and law student.
Resolution co-author Lillian Bonin said she received questions about why the legislation is pertinent to SG and how the SG assembly at the time of the controversy around Hall responded.
“The Student Government at the time actually did a precedent-setting action where they had a vote of no confidence for this regent, something that had never been done before in Student Government’s history, and I don’t believe has been done since then,” government junior Bonin said.
Ellington said this past action means “there is a bit of a moral obligation on this institution to right … that wrong.”
The student affairs committee changed any mention of former President Bill Powers in the assembly resolution to “the former University administration.”
“About a week before we heard the legislation, we had … the memorial of President Powers, and we thought it was in bad taste to sort of criticize his presidency just as he was passing and just as we were essentially remembering him,” said Vanessa Cruz, student affairs committee chair. “We felt that the legislation singled him out when it wasn’t just him, and we thought it was a broader problem that needed to be addressed within the legislation.”
Additionally, the bill officially instituting the Gender Inclusivity Coalition, which has been meeting since October, calls upon the Queer and Trans Student Alliance to oversee the group’s efforts.
“You already have the Queer (and) Trans Student Alliance as one of your agencies, and we are simply redefining or kind of giving that agency a new task,” said Ben Solder, assembly bill co-author and neuroscience senior. “You all have the ability to define what agencies Student Government has and what they do … and so we are clarifying, then, what that agency specifically is responsible for.”