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Friday, September 18, 2020

Student Government

SGA Senate gets back to business


In contrast to its Feb. 10 meeting, which was hamstrung by a failure to meet quorum, the Student Government Association Senate passed a bill and two resolutions and appointed five senators to committees Wednesday.

The bill calls for changes in professor evaluations for students who withdraw from a class; the current average withdrawal rate is 7 percent.

Professor evaluations are currently distributed to students at the end of the semester.

The bill also requires the Office of Admissions to provide an evaluation form for every class a student withdraws from.

“If there’s a problem with a certain professor or course, this will help identify any issue students who withdraw may be having,” Graduate Sen. Keith Richards, who sponsored the bill, said.

The senators also took a big step forward in an effort to improve the wages and working conditions of migrant and intrastate produce workers in the state of Florida. In a unanimous vote, the senators passed a resolution urging Aramark to agree to a minimum wage increase of 1 cent per pound for tomatoes purchased from Florida.

Aramark is currently the food service contract holder for the UH campus, including on-campus dining and dorm meal plans.

The resolution, spearheaded by the University’s Fair Labor Action Committee and sponsored by SGA Hotel and Restaurant Management Sen. John Price, Education Sen. Michael Harding and CLASS Sen. Michael McHugh, urged Aramark to agree to the increase, in conjunction with a national campaign being waged by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Student/Farmworker Alliance.

Aramark is a major purchaser of tomatoes from farmers in Immokalee, Fla. Tomato pickers are paid 40-50 cents per 32 pound bucket of tomatoes picked, with no overtime pay.

“To make $50 a day, these workers would have to pick 2 tons of tomatoes, and that’s not humanly possible,” Fair Labor Action Committee member Brendan Laws said. “I thank the senators for passing this resolution and think this is a big step and very positive in the drive to help the workers.”

The senate also passed a resolution applauding the University’s release of the “Izzy Lopez” memo Jan. 8 to protect transgender students.

The SGA passed the appointment of Technology Sen. Katie Kornahrens to Director of Public Relations; Harding was appointed to Chair of Student Life. McHugh was appointed to Vice Chair of Student Life, CLASS Sen. Emina Sadic to Internal Affairs and CLASS Sen. Daniel Cato to Vice Chair of Internal Affairs.

“Tonight is one of those meetings where it’s a lot of fun being a senator,” Cato said. “We’ve done some great things tonight and I’m so proud of us. Some of the resolutions we’ve passed can really affect a change.”

The 46th administration has two meetings left.

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