Senate passes legislation for menstrual hygiene products, support for international students

Rajya Atluri

The UT Senate of College Councils passed legislation Thursday providing menstrual hygiene products on campus, creating the International Student Advisory Group, supporting the establishment of international student first-year interest groups and eliminating penalty grading policies in “flipped” classes.

Approved Thursday, Joint Resolution 1701 supports the placing of menstrual hygiene products in high-traffic campus centers. 

Government junior Jordee Rodriguez, president of Liberal Arts Council, and Raphael Jaquette, international relations and global studies sophomore and academic policy chair, were co-authors of the resolution. 

“What this joint resolution would do in effect is create a yearly drive for menstrual hygiene products, so that there can always be those materials across campus and women can always access them,” Rodriguez said. “Currently, 86 percent of women or menstruating people are caught off guard whenever they begin their periods, and that is academically deleterious. This (resolution) will create an environment that is more inclusive and would help all menstruating people to be able to participate fully in their extracurriculars and their academics.”

Economics and finance senior Diana Ayoub, international students ad hoc committee chair, and economics sophomore Muhammad Adam Lee, international students ad hoc committee member, presented Senate Bill 1702. The bill, which passed, would create an International Students Advisory Group as an agency of the Senate of College Councils. The legislation states the new agency is necessary because international students aren’t granted the same resources as domestic students. 

“We realize that there are so many problems that international students are facing right now on campus,” Ayoub said. “They are representing 9.7 percent of the UT community here, so we believe that there are so many academic problems and challenges that could be addressed just by creating this agency. We are already an ad hoc committee, so we’re just asking to become officially part of the constitution.”

Ayoub also helped author Senate Resolution 1704 which would support establishing international students first-year interest groups. Passed during the session, this resolution would establish separate FIGs for international students in order to ensure a smoother transition for them at UT and the United States. Discussions in these groups would provide information more pertinent to international students, and students would have access to a mentor who understands their identity as an international student.

Senate Resolution 1703 also passed, which would eliminate the negative grading policy used in platforms like Quest for classes such as calculus within the College of Natural Sciences. Students can receive negative grades for incorrectly attempting math problems, which discourages students to solve the problems for the fear of receiving a score lower than a zero.

Shannon Geison, elected representative chair of the Undergraduate Business Council, said she noticed many freshmen faced this issue during their first semester of college, so she talked to McCombs associate dean David Platt to address it. 

“One of the biggest indicators of whether a student is going to graduate in four years is there grades from their first semester of college, and so we identify this as a really key issue for setting up students for success,” Geison said.