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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Student Government

SGA introduces ‘Samaritan’ bill

Student Government Association’s senators decided to forgo discussion of the GENDA and grade replacement bill and introduced the 911 Good Samaritan bill in Wednesday’s meeting.

The bill outlines the need for students to come forth and “do the right, responsible thing” when it comes to reporting incidents, particularly drug and alcohol-related situations, political science senior Michael McHugh said.

“Fear of police involvement is the number one reason why many drug and alcohol related incidences are not reported. Students think they may get in trouble, and they stay quiet,” McHugh said.

According to the Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s website, this bill would encourage people who witness or suffer an overdose to call 911 by assuring them they will not be arrested, charged or prosecuted for drug or paraphernalia possession or under-age alcohol possession.

Many prestigious universities have already adopted the bill, including Cornell, Duke and Harvard, McHugh said.

“With this policy, students will be (up to) two and a half times more likely to call for help immediately when witnessing alcohol incidents,” McHugh said. “Saving lives should never be considered criminal.”

The grade replacement bill discussions, a bill designed to allow students to retake a failed class and have the grade replaced, have come to a halt—for now.

“We’re not voting on the grade replacement policy tonight,” said Speaker of the Senate Reyes Ramirez. “We’re dealing with concerns from the Faculty Senate.”

According to Academic Affairs Chairman Maggie McCartney, she approached Faculty Director Simon Bott about the bill.  Bott then told her the grade replacement policy comes before the Faculty Senate every few years and every few years it is rejected.

The Faculty Senate’s concerns with the bill consist of implementing the program correctly and taking into consideration the students and the retention rate. The goal is for UH to continue to be recognized as Tier One and help students at the same time, according to Mike Nguyen, a former College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences senator.

“We’ll leave it in committee until we can get everything finalized,” McCartney said.

The proposal of the amended GENDA bill by McHugh is being put on hold.

“We figured we should take care of the students first, starting by holding off on this legislation. We (should) have more details on this by next week.”

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