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Sunday, August 19, 2018

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Barrett kicks off new SGA administration with four executive orders


cameron barrett and davis mendoza darusman at senate meeting in sga. Barrett issued four executive orders this week.

President Cameron Barrett issued four executive orders, establishing a textbook exchange and task forces. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

Newly sworn-in President Cameron Barrett announced four executive orders during the first Senate meeting of the new Student Government Association, one of which will establish a free textbook exchange run by SGA.

The free textbook exchange was one of the pillars of the Students Unite campaign that Barrett and his vice president, Davis Darusman, ran on. Two other executive orders established a task force for safety and poverty prevention that students can join. Another calls for stipend leaders and members of student government external affairs become certified to register voters.

The textbook exchange, which SGA will run, will collect textbooks from students finishing their classes at the end of the spring, summer and fall terms this year.

Students will be able to check out textbooks for appropriate courses and return them at the end of the semester. Students spend an average of $1,250 a year at four-year public colleges on textbooks, according to the executive order.

The campus safety and poverty prevention task forces will each meet once a month, and any student can join the groups to help their respective causes.

The fourth executive order issued calls for stipend leaders in student government and members of external affairs to become certified to register voters in Harris County, with midterm elections coming up.

The executive order said those who do not become certified will be removed from office by the president, but it notes the vice president cannot be unilaterally removed from office.

During the Wednesday night meeting, the Senate worked in two sessions to confirm Barrett’s cabinet and held a speaker election. Barrett said he wants to get positions filled early and initiatives started before the summer break slows down progress due to less active participation in SGA.

What we’ve accomplished in the past hour and half took previous administrations seven months,” said Vice President Davis Mendoza Darusman regarding the confirmation of several executive branch positions.

Mendoza, who wrote the campus safety task force executive order, was jabbing at the previous administration, which left several unfilled or unconfirmed positions through much of the year.

The senate, composed of a Students Unite majority, confirmed Barrett’s cabinet with almost unanimous consent on every vote.

Don’t vote in groupthink. It can be dangerous at times,” said Chief of Staff Kendrick Alridge on Wednesday at the end of the meeting. “If (your views) are different from someone you ran with, that’s perfectly fine. We need as many diverse opinions in this room as possible.” 

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