Student Government swears in new Supreme Court Justice, presents legislation supporting Instapoll

Hannah Ortega

Student Government proposed legislation supporting Instapoll in classrooms and approved a new Supreme Court Justice during a meeting Tuesday night.

First year representative Avi Patel presented Joint Resolution 9. The resolution seeks to encourage professors to institute UT Instapoll, a polling system available through Canvas, in their classrooms instead of response systems such as iClicker and Squarecap. The resolution was referred to the Academic Affairs Committee. 

“Students at the University of Texas at Austin are faced with the issue of having to pay for subscriptions to multiple services that provide the same function in different classrooms,” business freshman Patel said. “Additionally, they’re not able to take advantage of the year-long value package that these services provide because of the variances among classrooms at UT.”

Patel said UT Instapoll was created by the Liberal Arts Development Studio, giving students and professors direct access to the developers.

“This legislation proposes to form a task force composed of students, faculty members and UT Instapoll developers to essentially meet with department heads and professors to ensure the proper implementation of UT Instapoll in each department,” Patel said.


Additionally, James Dodson, a Plan II honors, government and business sophomore, was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice by Chief Justice Aaron Birenbaum.

“When we interviewed him, we felt like he really stood out in the way he was able to sort of structure arguments and create a case,” said Birenbaum, Plan II honors and business honors senior. “Really, all Supreme Court does is thinks things through logically and tries to write in a way that’s very clear so that people are really able to understand the arguments, they’re able to flow very effectively, and James did a great job at being able to do both.”

Michael Lee, chair of the Joint Resolution Committee, also presented Joint Bill 1. The bill would codify the Joint Resolution Committee, which was deemed necessary after what Lee said was a successful first year of having all three Legislative Student Organizations — SG, Senate of College Councils and the Graduate Student Assembly — represented within the committee.

“All the LSOs (Legislative Student Organizations) worked very well together, and we decided that it would be very beneficial to go forward and make sure that we all were on the same page, and all agreed to what guidelines the committee would follow,” Lee said.

Assembly Bill 14 and Assembly Bill 15 were approved. Assembly Bill 14 will create the Soncia Reagins-Lilly Award for Administrative Excellence, which will honor a staff or faculty member who has contributed to SG. Assembly Bill 15 will create the Student Government Excellency Awards, one of which is for Outstanding Leadership and the other for Community Impact. The leadership award is for SG members not in leadership positions, while the community award is for students who are not SG members.

Members also approved Joint Resolution 8, which supports the creation of standardized guidelines for training teaching assistants and assistant instructors.