Students propose resolution supporting Black Lives Matter to Student Government

Lisa Dreher

Student Government heard the first reading of a proposed resolution supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and black students at UT Thursday night.

“The bill itself is really affirmation from student government and from the legislative body of this university to say that we support black students and we support the struggles they’re going through on campus, as well as in the United States of America,” said Jasmine Barnes, director of operations for Students for Equity and Diversity, who wrote the resolution.

Those supporting the resolution said it would show the governing body’s solidarity with black students. Its proponents ranged from student government legislative members to members of student groups advocating for social justice and representation.

Cameron Maxwell, a member of the Black Students Alliance, said students should educate themselves on the Black Lives Matter movement’s peaceful message.

“Speaking on behalf of myself, a black man, it is a very powerful gesture if you could all take a look at this, read through it and at the very least learn about the Black Lives Matter movement,” Maxwell, a finance junior, said. “I am from Dallas, and I know what happened there really disconnected people from the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Alejandrina Guzman, director of Latin Community Affairs for the UT Multicultural Engagement Center, said the movement is motivated by a need to be treated equally and fairly by both people and powerful institutions.

“It’s a human rights issue,” Guzman said. “At the same time, for me being Latina, I just want to stand in solidarity, and most of you will hopefully.”

SG also passed legislation allowing members to begin reshaping the Improve the University Challenge. 

The challenge is a case competition where teams of students compete to resolve a student issue using their expertise and skills. The challenge then selects the best team’s idea which solves these specific student issues, which are voiced through Students Speak campaign, which was created by last year’s University-wide representatives. University-wide representative Vignesh Ramdas, a marketing and economics junior, said the challenge is overseen by an outside corporate sponsor, which comes to the University and proposes an idea to solve these issues.

Ramdas said the program should not partner with an outside corporation, but rather the University’s own offices and departments. 

Ramdas said University offices and departments would provide better insight into student’s problems and how to resolve them.

“We’re hoping by having the University as the partner, [we’ll] have some strong possibilities [for] implementation,” Ramdas said. “A student’s idea is actually going to be implemented in scale to a University-wide level.”

SG will vote on the proposed resolution regarding support for the Black Lives Matter movement at its meeting next Thursday.