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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student Senate bill advocates against changes in Northgate

Photo by Photo by Ana Renfroe

Members meeting during the 75th session of the student senate on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. 

The new Fate of the Gates Bill publicly opposes the College Station Police Chief’s proposed changes to the Northgate District.

On Sept. 21, at the most recent meeting of the 75th session of the Texas A&M Student Senate, The Fate of the Gates Bill was presented by Off-Campus Caucus Senator Karime Ramos and Community Relations Chair Jessica Williams. The bill was primarily authored by Ramos and sponsored by Williams and Off-Campus Caucus Senator Andrew Applewhite.

According to the bill, College Station Police Chief Billy Couch had met with College Station City Council in August, primarily to discuss safety concerns in the Northgate District. These concerns included, but were not limited to: the high number of Emergency Medical Service calls, crime, police dispatches and arrests.

Couch proposed an ordinance that would include several changes to the Northgate District. The ordinance proposed requiring cameras within bars, removing outdoor speakers, wanding patrons for weapons upon entry and changing the last call from 2 a.m. to 12 a.m.

According to The Fate of the Gates Bill, Couch also proposed environmental changes to Northgate, including limiting the number of bars in the district, rezoning and increased planning in the district, temporary road closures, installation of speed humps and building a wall along University Drive.

After learning about the controversial proposed changes to Northgate, Ramos said she felt encouraged to speak on behalf of all the students through this legislation.

Although not a member of the Community Relations Committee, Ramos took initiative to create the bill.

“This is a little out of what I usually work on, but since I do serve as an off-campus caucus leader, it is an off-campus issue,” Ramos said.
The Fate of the Gates Bill opposes almost all of the proposed changes to Northgate, especially changing the time for last-call and limiting the number of bars in the district.

“The bill is advocating for the integrity of the Northgate district because a lot of students and small businesses there don’t want it to change and be rezoned. [It] advocates against change but also for safety,” Ramos said.
However, Ramos clarified that it is not against all of the suggested safety measures, such as completing unfinished sidewalks and additional lighted sidewalks.

“We’re not against safety, we’re just against rezoning,” Ramos said.
The bill also advocates for College Station City Council to consider other safety improvements, such as safe ride and safe word programs.

“The Community Relations Committee is charged with anything that is more than the university and less than the state,” Williams said.

Williams said it is the committee’s responsibility to advocate for students’ interests within the community and local government.
“Our bill is formalizing the students’ opinion on Northgate and what type of reforms we believe are necessary for safety,” Williams said.

Williams said having a formal document is critical when student government leaders, especially the student body president, meet with city officials to discuss the interests of students.

The Fate of the Gates Bill was voted out of committee on Sept. 28 and will be read at the next Student Senate meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Once it is read, it will undergo a period of debate that would allow for further amendments. After the period of debate, the senators will vote on whether or not to pass the bill.

“Given the amount of interest and feedback on this bill, I think it has got really high chances of it passing,” Williams said.

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About the Contributor
Ana Renfroe
Ana Renfroe, Head News Editor
Ana Renfroe, Class of 2025, is a journalism junior with a minor in professional writing from Bryan, Texas. Ana has served as The Battalion's head news editor from May 2023 to May 2024. Previously, she was the assistant news editor for the spring 2023 semester. Ana has covered breaking news, politics, and more. She typically covered the Texas A&M System and university administration, Texas and Bryan-College Station politics, student government and more. Ana previously hosted and produced episodes of The Batt Signal, The Battalion's news podcast. Additionally, she was a copyeditor and feature writer for Maroon Life magazine, and helped contribute to the Aggieland Yearbook.
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