Controversial bill passes in last Senate meeting

April 8, 2011

Will DeWitt

Reporter

Student senate passed 12 bills, including a controversial bill that would reallocate Student Senate's diversity committee into its community affairs and public relations committees, during its last meeting of the semester.

The most controversial bill of the evening, brought forward by Fort Worth junior Daniel Houston of the operations and procedures committee, would dissolve the Senate's diversity committee and fold their responsibilities into the community affairs and public relations committees in an attempt to make senate more efficient.

"This is not striking our organizational commitment to reaching out to various smaller organizations," said Houston.

Some students felt that dissolving the diversity committee was frustrating the attempts that student government was making in connecting with all students.

"When you look on campus, Baylor does not look diverse at all, you don't see organizations interacting with each other," said sophomore senator Michelle Singleton.

While some senators were opposed to the bill, others supported it, viewing it as streamlining the work that senators have to do and making student senate more efficient. Others supported the bill because they felt that it showed how much Baylor was moving away from race being an issue at all.

"As a Hispanic and first generation American, I feel this is a great step forward to integrating all student interests on equal grounds, and I'm proud to have voted for the bill," said Wichita Falls junior Daniel Cervera

Senate also passed bills that more strictly defined how unused allocated funds would be repaid. Citing how student organizations could move around a budget to use funds from the Student Government Allocation Fund in ways that student senate had not intended so that they wouldn't have to return the unused funds, senate made the writing in the constitution more clear so that would not be an issue in the future.

There was a slight hiccup however when senate was voting on formalizing the student surveying process in which so many senators had left that senate failed to meet quorum, the minimum number of members required to conduct the meeting, and had to halt voting on the bill until enough senators came back.

Among the multitude of other bills that senate passed in the meeting were bills that supported putting coin machines in dorms for laundry, investing in parking garage technologies that would allow students to see if the garage is full or not, and allowing students to change their meal plans during the semester. Senate also passed a bill that would allow students to use multiple swipes at one meal for themselves and their friends.

Senate also voted on the faculty, staff, and senator of the year, as well as the Lone Star award, which looks to recognize the most "maverick" senator, these will be announced at their banquet near the end of the year.