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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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SGA to start escorting students from library at night


The Student Government Association will begin offering students escort from M.D. Anderson Library to their car or residence at night on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the coming weeks

The Student Government Association will begin offering students escorts from M.D. Anderson Library to their car or residence at night Tuesdays and Thursdays in the coming weeks. | Michael Slaten/The Cougar

The Student Government Association will soon begin offering escort services for certain nights at M.D. Anderson Library to help assist students walking back to their cars and residences.

The Cougar Pack Establishment Act, passed Wednesday by the SGA Senate, will allow students to request a student escort from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday nights outside the library.

“It will build on and  serve as kind of a supplement to the already safety escort program UHPD does,” said Chief of Staff Allison Lawrence, who helped author the bill. “There have been a few complaints about (UHPD’s) program regarding how long it takes.”

There will be four paid student positions helping escort students, which will be funded by the UH Administration and Finance, said vice president Davis Darusman.

The program hopes to use golf carts to escort students if the Student Centers allow SGA to use them for the service, Darusman said. If not, students will be escorted by two or more students at a time.

More than 160 students requested a UHPD security escort from July 21, 2017 to Dec. 1, 2017 from the M.D. Anderson Library, according to the bill.

Students will be able to volunteer to escort students. The program could expand from Tuesdays and Thursdays to be on more nights, Darusman said.

Also at the meeting Wednesday, president Cameron Barrett read a bill that would raise the Student Service Fee cap.

“The cap needs to increase if we want to maintain a decent student life with enrollment gains we are seeing,” Barrett said. “This proposal would shift the cap from $270 to $350 a year.”

Student Service Fees are at $260 a semester for the 2018 school year. Raising the cap does not raise the fee but allows for the fee to be raised higher than $270 in the future.  The last major increase in student fees was $50 in 2011, largely to fund TDECU Stadium.

President Renu Khator only considers a raise in student fees every other year, Barrett said.

Four students were appointed to the Student Fees Advisory Committee. These students will make up part of the seven students of the 10 member committee, which decides how student fees are allocated every year.

Two appointees said they will focus on data when presented with a proposal for funding from an organization.

The senate also discussed passing a resolution to create a mandatory transit fee for students. While a resolution does not create any change, Barrett stressed the importance of funding University shuttles through a transit fee instead of parking permits.

“Because zone parking forced so many to ERP, reasonably they had to fund more transit services,” Barrett said.

If a transit fee were to be implemented at the University, parking permit prices would rise considerably less due to more students paying into transit fee, Barrett said. He called zone parking a success at the meeting and does not expect a transit fee to be as controversial.

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