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Saturday, July 4, 2020

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Senate pushes for meditation room in The Quad


The bill “The Quad Meditation and Prayer Space Resolution" proposes establishing a meditation and prayer room at The Quad. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

The bill “The Quad Meditation and Prayer Space Resolution” proposes establishing a meditation and prayer room at The Quad. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

The Student Government Association Senate proposed establishing a meditation and prayer room at The Quad due to a minimal availability of places on campus the appropriate size for Muslim students’ spiritual needs,

The bill brought to the senate was “The Quad Meditation and Prayer Space Resolution,” presented by the College of Natural Science and Mathematics senator Jasmine Khademakbari.

The bill is reaching to follow the precedent of the former Quad, which included a room accommodating enough to sustain Muslim prayer and meditation. 

“Senator Javed and I tried to do something similar at the library, unfortunately, there is not a big space that’s big enough to accommodate everybody permanently,” Khademakbari said. “This is just a resolution so we can have a permanent prayer space in The Quad.”

With MD Anderson Library serving only as a temporary solution, there is still a need for an area to adequately host meditation and prayer.

Khademakbari plans to reach out to a housing director for more information on the current plans for The Quad.

“The Muslim Student Associations says (A.D. Bruce Religion Center) is not big enough to house that many students who want to do prayer and meditation at the right time,” Khademakbari said.

A motion was passed to move it to the student life committee. 

The “Campaign Expenditure Reform” was the second first read of the night, which pushes to decrease the campaign spending cap to $500 for independent students running for a specific college senate seat, $700 for independent students running for at-large senate seats, and $1,200 for student government election parties.

“We are here to represent students who are like us, who are working class,” Khademakbari said. “It’s a huge sum of money to be spending $2,500 on an election.”

Students watching from the gallery spoke out against the bill, saying that candidates who can’t fund their own campaigns can achieve assistance through donations.

Khademakbari, who originally presented the first read to the senate, disagreed saying that candidates should represent students, not businesses and corporations who make donations.

“Asking students for donations would be the best meaning to do so, in my view,” Khademakbari said. “However, I also don’t think  it’s fair to pay you to run for a position where you are representing them, because this should be something you’re doing out of wanting to help students.”

A motion was passed to continue the discussion about the “Campaign Expenditure Reform” further in Senate’s internal affairs committee.

A first read of the “Donation Reform and Class A Violation Changes” was brought to the Senate by Attorney General Cameron Barrett. This bill requires that all donations that candidates receive be accounted for in their expenditures with additional information about who made the donation, the market value of it and the date it was made.

A student concerned about the bill said introducing this at this point in the election cycle is unfair to students who have previously planned their campaign expenditures.

Barrett proceeded to warn the student about potentially announcing their intention to run through this manner, and then proceeded to justify the bill.

“I get that it can be a problem, but what I also can tell you is that this is a precedent that we’ve always enforced the code this way,” Barrett said.

The bill was moved to internal affairs.

From the three passed university committee appointments, all of them were to the campus recreation advisory board, appointing Jamie Sherly, Zareah Horton and Ricardo Pocasangre. 

Claire Marlowe was appointed to be the deputy election commissioner.

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