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

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

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

Advertisement
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Student Senate fields questions at town hall

Angelina+Baltazar%2C%26%23160%3BTiffany+Ufodiama%2C%26%23160%3BKristina+Samuel%2C%26%23160%3BKatie+Lester%2C%26%23160%3BIman+Ahmed%2C%26%23160%3BMathias+Brantley%2C%26%23160%3BFawaz+Syed%26%23160%3Bpresent+during+the+senate+meeting+in+Koldus+on+Monday%2C+March+28.
Photo by Photo by Coby Scudder

Angelina BaltazarTiffany UfodiamaKristina SamuelKatie LesterIman AhmedMathias BrantleyFawaz Syed present during the senate meeting in Koldus on Monday, March 28.

The Texas A&M Student Senate held a town hall on Monday, March 28, allowing for students to talk directly to their elected representatives about issues they have on campus. This event highlighted a new push by the organization to reach out to the student body and is planned to be the first of many town halls over the next year.

The senators, including Senate Speaker Iman Ahmed and multiple senate committee chairs, fielded questions concerning administrative decisions regarding The Battalion, Fish Camp and Draggieland, ongoing university realignment and concerns about hate speech and wage inequality on campus.

Attendee Eric Martinez, a chemical engineering sophomore and member of the A&M chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America, or YDSA, asked multiple questions with an emphasis on issues of equality on campus.

Martinez said they have seen violations and abuses of the First Amendment on campus, citing an example of a student who verbally harassed another student during a YDSA meeting. Martinez said they took the issue to administration, but nothing was done, and they wanted to know if the Student Senate could do anything further.

Ahmed said it is difficult for any action to be taken in such a scenario because A&M is a public university.

“At the end of the day, we are a public institution,” Ahmed said. “That’s why it’s very difficult to get to where the university … can actually punish a student for certain actions unless it meets a certain threshold.”

Ahmed also said other forms of pressure can affect a student outside official administration channels, including increased pressure.

“Another thing is I think student pressure does a lot,” Ahmed said. “I’ve noticed that there have been students that have been caught on camera saying certain things and because of that, their other organizations have applied pressure to remove them from certain organizations or positions.”

With A&M’s new designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and federal Department of Education, Martinez asked the Senate if there are any plans for the university to increase resources for Hispanic students.

Student Senator and management senior Yovanka Gonzalez said, as a member of the Student Body President task force under Natalie Parks, the group is working and steps are being made, but much of it is out of the Student Senate’s direct power.

“A lot of things are a little bit out of our control … but definitely steps are being made,” Gonzalez said. “[Student Senate] passed legislation stating that we do support a Latinx Center. There’s currently a task force under Natalie Parks’ presidency, and hopefully we’ll see that with Case Harris as well.”

Gonzalez’s statement highlighted a theme brought up by senators throughout the panel the limited direct power the Student Senate has. The panelists stressed the most important things the Senate can do happen in committees or in discussions with administration, using their unique connections to advocate for students.

Martinez also asked if the Student Senate had done anything concerning The Rudder Association, a group of former students which claims to have influence over university personnel. Legislative Relations Committee chair Jessica Williams said there is legislation in the works by the Student Senate in regards to this.

Williams said she helped to write the Stakeholder Prioritization Resolution, brought forward at the March 9 Student Senate meeting, which was designed to voice concerns about the university decision-making process. This legislation, which did not mention any groups in particular, was voted to be tabled indefinitely in the special committee tasked with editing it.

Martinez also questioned the state of underpaid university workers and asked if there is something the Student Senate could do.

“Is there anything we can do working through [the] Student Senate to advocate for student workers who are getting paid $7.25 an hour … below a living wage?” Martinez asked. “Would you guys be able to create a committee underneath the diversity [and] inclusion commission that is composed solely of student workers so that they can advocate for themselves?”

Ahmed said this is something the Student Senate could work on in the upcoming 75th Session if there are students who voice their concerns. She also said, with the Chartwells contract coming to a close in August, this is a unique time when movement could be made in advocating for student-worker rights.
This answer highlighted a theme present throughout the panel: This is a unique time for the university and students have the opportunity to make changes. With academic realignment and a new administration under university President M. Katherine Banks, there is much at A&M that can be changed, and the senators at the panel urged students to voice their concerns and work with their representatives to make change for the good.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *