SG moves to support undocumented students, pass budget rollover amendment

London Gibson

Student Government representatives presented a resolution calling on Congress to pass legislation protecting the interests of undocumented students and declaring support for undocumented students at UT during their first assembly of the year Tuesday night.

The resolution to support undocumented students on campus came hours after President Donald Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, a program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation. There were 762 undocumented immigrants enrolled at UT in 2013, according to The Texas Tribune.

“It’s a statement of support from the student body that their lives matter and that they are as much of a Longhorn as any of us,” said Santiago Rosales, SG chief of staff and finance and government senior.   

Assembly Resolution 13, authored by Rosales, SG president Alejandrina Guzman and vice president Micky Wolf, declares support for universities affected by the storm and asks the UT community to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Unanimously passed, the authors said the resolution calls for donations to the University’s emergency student relief fund at today’s Party on the Plaza, UT’s annual welcome-back-to-campus party.

“This is a big step to show our support for not only our Longhorns but schools around Texas,” Guzman, Mexican-American studies and government senior, said.

Assembly Resolution 12, which was also unanimously passed and fast-tracked, will ask students if they support reinstating the Texas v. Texas A&M football game in the form of a ballot referendum during the first-year representative and transfer representative elections at the end of this month.

UT football coach Tom Herman told The Austin Chronicle in July that he supported adding the game to the non-conference football schedule, and A&M Chancellor John Sharp was featured in Texas Monthly’s July issue saying the same.

Wolf, a Plan II and business honors senior, said he hopes to hold the game within the next eight years, but believes SG can begin planning it by the end of this school year with student support.

“We want to be able to provide the information necessary for decision makers both at UT and A&M to come together and be able to have this conversation,” Wolf said.

The assembly also voted to progress legislation that would hold SG agencies more accountable for financial decisions. The amendment gives SG internal finance director Eric Saldanha the ability to recall unused funds and place them into a general allocation fund.

The Daily Texan reported in the spring that for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years, close to one-third of SG’s operating budget went unused. The amendment to reduce budget rollover was a key agenda point outlined by Saldanha when he first became the financial director in April.

“Rather than keeping unused funds with an agency that won’t spend it, we’re putting it back into a general allocation fund where any (SG agency) can apply and use it,” Saldanha said.

SG also approved the budget for the upcoming school year, which was fast-tracked and previously approved by their Financial Affairs Committee.