Senate candidates announce platforms in uncontested race

Rachel Lew

Three candidates are running in an uncontested race for president, vice president and financial director in this year’s Senate of College Councils’ elections.

The candidates for president, vice president and financial director are government junior Sergio Cavazos, English junior Austin Reynolds and business sophomore Christopher Whitehair, respectively.

Senate policy director Cavazos said his platform will allow Senate to grow its campus presence while producing tangible changes to academic policy.

“By becoming Senate president, I hope to ensure implementation of long-term initiatives we passed in Senate this year, such as creating a 30-day grace period for clearing financial bars, creating an opt-in policy for sensitive information in the UT Directory and establishing a student library printing credit,” Cavazos said.

Cavazos said he will prioritize working with the state legislature.

“I am committed to working with students and Invest in Texas throughout the next year to solicit recommendations from the student body regarding the issues we should advocate for at the state capitol,” Cavazos said.

Cavazos said he also hopes to create an advisory group to provide Faculty Council with feedback from the leaders of each college council, utilize Campus Conversations to engage students on the planned updates to the class registration and interactive degree audit systems and create a professor review system through Senate to provide students with meaningful feedback about the structure of different courses on campus.

Reynolds, president of Liberal Arts Council (LAC), said he plans to help councils by creating Dean Student Advisory Committees for each college council.

“This will connect students directly with their Dean, eliminating some of the bureaucracy and allowing direct communication between students and administration,” Reynolds said. 

Reynolds said he plans to pass legislation that promotes awareness of Title IX — a statement on UT syllabi that requires UT faculty to report any sex discrimination, sexual harassment or violence on campus.

“This way, students do not feel like UT faculty reporting any cases presented them is a breach of confidentiality and students are aware of the responsibilities placed on UT faculty by Title IX,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said he hopes to strengthen the bond between internal Senate and college councils by providing more interactive general assemblies, host workshops for members in councils and in Senate to help plan successful events, and impact Senate and the UT community by presenting student research and leadership opportunities through professor, researcher and student panels. Reynolds said he plans to meet with faculty and Senate members weekly to accomplish his goals.

Senate development coordinator Christopher Whitehair said he plans to help create scholarships and endowments, promote a culture of fundraising, readjust internal Senate spending and improve communication between internal and external Senate.

“I hope to bring a new vision of the importance of scholarships, endowments and fundraising to external Senate,” Whitehair said. “For internal Senate, I plan to a host a best practices workshop that will stress the importance of effective budgeting.”

Whitehair said he will involve the student body through fundraising initiatives and Internet marketing.

“Senate’s brand on campus is not well known, and I believe I am in a position that can effectively advertise the way the Senate truly gives back to the student body through events, scholarships and leadership opportunities,” Whitehair said.