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Thursday, September 29, 2022

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SGA’s 58th administration meets for final time, passes divestment, pronoun bills


final sga meeting

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

After heavy debate, the militarism divestment resolution passed through Student Government Association senate during their final meeting of the semester.

The militarism and endless war divestment resolution authored by the Students for Justice in Palestine urges the University to stop investing in companies that produce the largest weaponry and military technology including Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop, General Electric and Lockheed Martin.

“Israeli forces bombarded Palestinians in Gaza with missiles, bombs and guided jets,” said SJP organizer Gabriela Hamdieh. “These acts of militarization enable and maintain their power over the Palestinian people. Right now the University has invested $7.6 million into these companies over the last five years.”

Thirteen other student organizations on campus helped launch UH Divest and attended the meeting in support of the resolution to share their perspective and stories surrounding the negative impacts the companies have caused.

Some members of SGA claim the University emphasizes diversity and social consciousness, however, they argue that the only achievement with these investments is profit for UH.

“Because despite the fact that University officials love to talk about how diverse and socially conscious UH is, they currently have no qualifications for their investing of their endowment besides profit,” said senator Alexis Boehmer. 

Others argue that UH’s investment in these arms manufacturers is a violation of human rights.

“These companies are knowingly and willingly complicit in some of the worst forms of state violence and we have the power to change that,” said SJP president Alex Kerry. “We are putting non-violent economic pressure to say that no, you can no longer get our money and continue to enable the worst forms of human rights violations across the globe.” 

The resolution was pushed to the end of the meeting for a vote and eventually passed. 

Other items brought forth during the meeting, like the pronoun acknowledgment bill, mandate SGA members attending virtual meetings to include their pronouns after their names, in an effort to push for inclusion on campus.

The technicalities of the bill were discussed during the final meeting with concerns from the senate on whether or not members would be punished for refraining to include their pronouns.

“People are constantly misgendering others and I think part of this is not just only inclusion, but making us more aware of these types of things,” said SGA vice president Maryam Alghafir.

Alghafir shared that the intention of the pronoun bill isn’t to penalize those who forget to add their pronouns or feel uncomfortable including them, but to ensure that individuals putting harmful “pronouns” are handled accordingly. 

Other items on the agenda included a resolution to support UH’s anti-discrimination policy resolution in response to a lawsuit UH is facing. 

“So really, I think, here, do we want to value this idea of free speech, or do we want to value the individuals that go to our school that we represent, value their identities and make sure that they can be as best students that they can be,” Alghafir said.

This resolution also passed through the senate.

The next SGA meeting will induct members of the 59th administration with the newly elected president Joshua Martin in office. 

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