UT-Austin Student Government advocates for student participation in appointing new University president

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Student Government discusses legislation on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 in the WCP Student Activity Center. The assembly introduced a resolution in support of implementing campus-wide education modules.

Photo Credit: Kidus Solomon | Daily Texan Staff

Student leaders unanimously passed a joint resolution urging the UT System Board of Regents to give students a voice in appointing a new University president following the announcement that President Gregory Fenves will leave UT this summer.

The resolution was written by members of SG, Senate of College Councils and the Graduate Student Assembly. It was previously passed by the Senate and the Graduate Student Assembly.

The resolution states that while past presidential search advisory committees only allowed for one student representative to serve on the committee, the Board of Regents should allow for more students to participate in the selection.

Student affairs chair Ryan Chandler, who co-wrote the resolution, said the core purpose of the resolution is to advocate for more student representation in the decision to choose the new president of the University.

“Traditionally, that is not something that they had really prioritized, and it affects, more than any other group of people, the students,” Chandler, a journalism and government junior, said. “Right now, there is (one) student regent on the board.”

Chandler said the legislation advocates that the incoming president continue initiatives spearheaded by Fenves, such as financial assistance and sexual violence prevention.

Chief of staff Vinit Shah, who also co-wrote the resolution, said it is important to represent all student groups’ voices to the board directly when making a decision that affects the student body.  He said the number of students requested on the board will depend on the size of the selection committee.

“We don’t necessarily know what the size of the committee is going to be, so that would affect our (request) in a lot of ways,” public health junior Shah said. “We’re going to try to push for the most representation possible because there are limits to just having Legislative Student Organization (members) on that board, and we also want outside student representation.”

Financial affairs chair Grant Marconi, who sponsored the resolution, said SG has the opportunity to make a decision that is very impactful to the student body. 

“This is probably one of the few pieces of legislation that will touch every inch of our Forty Acres,” finance sophomore Marconi said. “I just want to encourage everybody (to) vote on this piece of legislation that will impact so many people.”