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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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SGA strikes down transit fee resolution despite student approval


Transit

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The Student Government Association struck down the resolution for a transit fee, proposed late January, by majority vote in the second to last meeting Wednesday evening.

The transit resolution proposed a $25 additional charge to student fees for the academic year to fund transportation services that would be available to UH students.

The profit generated by UH Parking and Transportation from the extra fee would help fund projects such as Cougar Ride and Cougar Line shuttles, upgrading bicycle parking and bus shelters, exterior lighting and electric vehicle charging stations.

The resolution was drafted in response to try and stop the rise in permit prices across campus, which would have been put on hold for two years if the extra fee would have been implemented.

“A lot of people wanted increased quality for parking and transportation, other people thought it would increase (the quality of) campus life, reducing the parking permit (prices), or at least freezing them, and hopefully having that reduction or at least leveling out over the years, and getting the resources needed for that department,” said SGA vice president and resolution co-author Maryam Alghafir.

Despite the transit resolution having 60 percent approval amongst student participants in a survey presented by Alghafir, it failed to pass the senate vote.

In the meeting SGA President Arsalan Darbin gave general updates as his administration is approaching its last meeting of the semester.

Darbin announced his chief of staff Brett Bonnete resigned as of yesterday. Bonnete declined to comment.

Following the 2022 SGA elections, the senate also passed revisions to the election code addressing monetary compensation of election commissioners, candidacy eligibility, campaigning regulations and other processes.

Two other resolutions were brought to the senate floor for the first read-through, including a resolution supporting UH’s anti-discrimination policy.

Alghafir co-authored this resolution and said it was drafted in response to a lawsuit brought against the University regarding the policy limiting freedom of speech.

“I do want to clarify that this discrimination policy doesn’t attack First Amendment rights,” Alghafir said. “What it does protect (is) individuals against repetitive behavior that is threatening, that puts someone at harm, that doesn’t allow them to be the best student that they can be at the University of Houston.”

The last resolution brought to the floor was written to urge the University to divest from companies involved in the production of weapons, with a total of 13 student associations listed as sponsors on the resolution.

“As tuition-paying students at the University, we no longer remain complicit while the University bonds our homelands, police our communities and profits from this more so in our name,” said middle eastern studies and political science junior Alex Kerry. “We have a say in where our money goes and we reject the funding of militarism, apartheid and endless war, which is why as a collective of 13 student organizations and growing we are proud to introduce the resolution to urge the University to divest from militarism.”

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