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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 confirms recently elected senators, passes The Fate of the Gates bill

Sophomore+student+senator+Sam+Jefferis+talks+during+the+75th+session+of+the+student+senate+on+Wednesday%2C+Sept.+21%2C+2022.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Ana Renfroe

Sophomore student senator Sam Jefferis talks during the 75th session of the student senate on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. 

The 75th Session of the Texas A&M Student Senate met on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 5, to swear in the recently elected student senators. The Student Government Association, or SGA, university committee members were confirmed by the Senate.

During the open forum, management senior Yovanka Gonzalez and public service & administration graduate student Sofia Chunga Pizzarro gave a brief presentation. The Latinx Center Research Task Force and SGA are seeking feedback about the experience of Hispanic and Latino students at A&M. A survey was sent out to over 23,000 students on the morning of Oct. 6, with recipients including a non-Hispanic sample group, international students and students who identify as Hispanic or Latino. The survey will be open until Friday, Oct. 21. The results will be shared with University President M. Katherine Banks and the A&M Hispanic Serving Institution Guiding Committee.

University Committees Vice President Cate Craddock gave a brief presentation to senators about the importance of specialized committees. The committee nominees were escorted into the room and then escorted out. The senate then took a vote on whether or not to confirm the nominees. The present nominees were confirmed by a vote of 23-0. The absent nominees were confirmed by a vote of 19-1.

During the period of unfinished business, The Fate of the Gates bill was read, since it had returned from the committee. Off-campus Senator Karime Ramos and Community Relations Chair Jessica Williams presented the bill for its second reading.

During the period of debate for the bill, Legislative Relations Chair Pat Englehart motioned to make an amendment to specify the senate’s opinion on whether or not to require cameras inside bars. Englehart explained that in cases of sexual assault or spiked drinks, having security footage could make a difference in pursuing criminal cases.

“I can’t get into legal specifics, but there is a case right now that will go to trial, where it’s a ‘he said-she said’. The evidence that could decide the case is a video that doesn’t exist because the bar didn’t have any cameras,” Englehart said.

Englehart’s amendment was added by a vote of 18-3.
Geosciences Senator Joshua Benson also motioned to amend the bill to specify the senate’s opinion about the possible construction of a wall along University Drive. Benson shared his concerns with the senate, stating that intoxicated students will often wander too close to the street while Northgate is active on weekends.

“Whenever I go to Northgate, and I’m driving myself home, I’ll take University Drive,” said Benson. “Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday that I’m there, I have to worry about students jumping into that street and physically have had to swerve around students falling in the street.”

Benson urged the senate to take a stance on the matter.

“It is a matter of time before another student gets hit. prevent that. I think we need to be on the right side of history in this case,” said Benson.

Off-campus Senator Corbitt Armstrong agreed with Benson. Armstrong said the safety of the students was more important than aesthetic issues or temporary road closures caused by constructing a wall. Benson’s amendment was added by a vote of 26-0.

The senate then voted on the legislation as a whole. The Fate of the Gates bill passed by a vote of 29-0.

After unfinished business concluded, 17 out of the 18 recently elected student senators were sworn in by Chief Justice John Nesmith. The elected students are as follows:

Freshman senator Riley James Pritzlaff

Freshman senator Barrett Brown

On-campus senator Briani Plancarte-Saenz

On-campus senator Claire Groner

Off-campus senator Jocelyn Goodman

Off-campus senator Reagan Powers

Off-campus senator Walid Yusuf

Off-campus senator Jola Adediba

Off-campus senator Emmanuel Ogunsanya

Off-campus senator Ethan Hannigan

Off-campus senator Pablo De La Garza

Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences senator Alexander Chaiken

Engineering senator Kathryn Carter

Engineering senator Alex Reistad

Education and Human Development senator Robert Hargrove

Liberal Arts senator Olive Okoro

Liberal Arts senator Alejandro Prieto

The last senator, off-campus Senator Jocelyn Goodman was sworn in by Chief Justice Nesmith after the committee reports.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what you will accomplish while you represent your students,” Speaker of the House Tyler Smith said.

After committee reports, Englehart also made a special motion to introduce a new piece of legislation that would encourage voters to register and participate in the upcoming midterm elections.

The Encouraging Students to Register and Vote in the 2022 Midterm Elections Resolution underwent a tense period of questioning and debate, ending with Pro Tempore Brandon Rea ultimately making a motion to end the debate. The period of voting began, with the resolution eventually passing 28-4.

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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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