Senate suspends legislation for remainder of semester

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Photo Credit: Henry Howard | Daily Texan Staff

UT Senate of College Councils will not introduce any new legislation or hold general assembly meetings after April 23 for the remainder of the semester.

Senate is also still actively working on initiatives like lowering summer tuition rates and played a role in the changes in grading models to pass/fail this semester.

President-elect Alcess Nonot, a human development and family science junior, said the transition period has been unusual because they were elected by the assembly several weeks ago but are not officially in charge until the end of the previous administration’s term on April 23. She and Vice President-elect Isaac James said they decided along with Senate representatives to cancel general assembly and all legislation for the rest of the semester.

“(This decision) is just good for everyone’s mental health right now because we’re students, and we’re trying to deal with taking online classes … and other personal things that might be going on in people’s lives,” Nonot said. “Not having legislation doesn’t necessarily mean that Senate isn’t doing anything. We can definitely still pursue initiatives, write statements of support and be in contact with administration.”

Senate is working on plans to move forward, such as potentially donating funds to Student Emergency Services, and is making plans for next semester. 

James said it is harder to fully step into a Senate leadership role without physically being there. 

“I just want to get in there and get started,” James, a Plan II and government sophomore said. “It’s really easy to have a plan (for when you get elected), but then having to pause for a global pandemic isn’t something that was planned for. It’s important for student leaders to step up.”

Nonot and James were elected over Zoom and are transitioning to their new leadership roles remotely.

“The election happening over Zoom was a big change from what we’ve done in the past, so that presented a lot of unique challenges,” said James. “I think it was handled in the best way possible, and it all turned out to run pretty smoothly.”

James also said Senate is looking into donating the remainder of their funding to Student Emergency Services. 

“I haven’t heard a final decision on how it might be possible or through what avenue it might be possible, but that’s something that most of us have decided is the best route to go with,” James said.

Nonot said Senate is still trying to advocate for students while still being sensitive to what students are going through in their own lives. 

“Student organizations shouldn’t be a huge priority right now, just because other people have things going on in their lives,” Nonot said. “Their health and their families should be the priority.”