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Friday, June 9, 2023

Student Government

SGA meets to discuss election reform, Chick-fil-A

The Student Government Association will discuss election system bylaw reform at 7:30 p.m. today in the Rockwell Pavilion.

Other bills proposed would remove Chick-fil-A from the new University Center, would disassociate UH from Higher One and would change the font on the UH diplomas.

One of the major changes to the election reform would be the removal of online voting, said Stephen Cronin, speaker of the Senate for SGA.

“The main difference is a move toward definite polling locations, completely eliminating online voting,” Cronin said. “It would be similar to the way that the athletic department did it and how they did voting with the new stadium.”

SGA President Cedric Bandoh said the bill came as a response to the issues SGA faced in the past two election cycles.

“When I was elected, I said there was no way we were going to move forward and be effective without addressing internal issues. The first thing we did was reform the bylaws, overhaul and produce a better structure,” Bandoh said.

“The second thing was create the election task force who worked day and night researching election systems at different university campuses to come up with the proposed system on (today’s) agenda.”

The move toward online voting was supposed to increase voter turnout, Bandoh said. However, according to the polling numbers, it has not made a noticeable difference.

“Voter turnout is not determined by method of voting,” Bandoh said. “It is tied to marketing. There has been less marketing in the past couple of years; there wasn’t enough money, so we increased funds and focused efforts to encourage students to go out and vote.”

A second bill proposed will attempt to remove Chick-fil-A from the selection of restaurants located in the new UC.

“The main idea is that the two authors are primarily against its owner’s donations to groups and individuals that aren’t necessary doing good things towards LGBT community,” Cronin said. “In (today’s) meeting, there will be a more refined version.”

Other issues included in the resolution are that the inclusion of a second on-campus Chick-fil-A would be redundant, the food is not healthy and its closure on Sunday will inconvenience students.

“I support the senators initiative,” Bandoh said. “There are a lot of different issues involved in that bill. The debate will give better understanding where senators want to go with the initiative.”

Another bill proposed would be the dissociation of UH with Higher One, the sponsor for the Cougar Refund Card, UH’s official refund disbursement card.

“(Higher One was) ordered to return $11 million to about 60,000 students in August for unfair and deceptive practices,” the resolution said. “The University of Houston Student Government Association on behalf of the students of the University of Houston submits an official vote of NO CONFIDENCE (sic) in Higher One and The Bancorp Bank. Furthermore, the University of Houston Student Government Association urges the University look to provide financial aid refund services through current administrative modules or contract services with another provider.”

Bandoh wishes to separate UH from any banking corporation, Cronin said.

“The idea is, this is Cedric’s point of view: to get rid of any money put on card,” Cronin said. “He wants the administration to figure it out. He said he would like a check to be presented to students, no bank coming in.”

The last thing on the agenda for today would be a move to change the font on UH’s diploma.

“The ‘H’ that appears to lowercase to nearly every person that views the diploma negatively impacts the value of that diploma, that student’s achievements, and the University of Houston itself,” the resolution said.

After this one, the next SGA Senate meeting will be Jan. 16 in the Rockwell Pavilion.

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