Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Student Government passes resolution in support of student committee to preserve community resources

Naina Srivastava
Kaz Elenes, an International Relations and Global Studies and Plan II sophomore, speaks during the open forum period of a Student Government meeting on April 23, 2024.

The Student Government passed a resolution last night calling for the creation of a student committee to preserve the resources in WCP 2.112. Advocates for the space attended the meeting to show their support for the resolution.

The resolution passed with 24 yeas, one nay and three abstentions. 

WCP 2.112 currently houses the Women’s Community Center (WCC), which the University announced will shut down on July 5 to comply with Senate Bill 17. The WCC replaced the Gender and Sexuality Center, which closed its doors Jan. 1 to comply with SB 17. 

According to the resolution, Student Government will choose the student committee through an application process, and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs will approve its selections. 

The resolution says the committee would “preferably” include students who worked at the WCC or used its resources. Some representatives expressed concern that this perceived partiality could make the committee non-compliant with SB 17.

Representative Emma Daniell, the only representative to vote nay, said she couldn’t support this aspect of the resolution because it ran counter to the ultimate goal of inclusivity.

“I think (the committee) should be expanded much broader, especially if it is trying to be an all- inclusive space for students on campus,” Daniell said. “It’s creating a new space but for the same community and more.”

The authors of the bill emphasized this wording does not mean students who did not previously use the WCC will be denied a spot on the committee. Speaker of the Assembly Nidhi Chanchlani said that language ensures former WCC staffers/attendees made up some, but not all, of the committee.

“When we’re fielding applications and looking through them, we want there to be a variety of voices because the WCC has always maintained that it’s a space that’s open to all students,” Chanchlani said.

Gowri Kamma, Lotus Project president and an author of the resolution, said Interim Dean of Students Katie McGee and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Dison have expressed support for the committee in meetings, but its creation is not finalized. Kamma said she, along with other student organizers, are optimistic that this student committee will materialize in the fall.

The University declined to comment.

Over 150 students attended the Student Government meeting as part of the “Pack the Room” campaign put on by the Gender and Sexuality Collective and the Lotus Project.

“The more people that show up, the more we prove to UT that people care,” the groups said in a joint Instagram post.

To comply with fire code, some students had to leave the Legislative Assembly Room at the beginning of the meeting and instead “packed the room” on Zoom.

“This legislation is instrumental in prioritizing and providing for every UT student,” said Kaz Elenes, an international relations and Plan II sophomore, in the open forum. “Make the choice that shows that you care.”

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About the Contributor
Naina Srivastava, Senior News Reporter & Senior Photographer
Naina is a freshman journalism major from Mountain View, California. She is currently a senior news reporter and senior photographer at the Texan.