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SGA confirms support for SFAC recommendation, passes bill to revise constitution

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

During Sunday’s Senate meeting, the Student Government Association passed a bill in support of the Student Fee Advisory Committee’s recent budget recommendations for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

SFAC recommends funding allocations for Student Service Fees, which support various student services and organizations. While the committee recommended only minor alterations for a majority of funded departments and organizations, they did propose a major cut of about $1.5 million to Athletics’ base allocation.

“The bill acts as a form of solidarity and shows that the senators are on board with the recommendations,” said SFAC chair Yusuf Kadi.

The new deal

Another bill passed was The New SGA Act, which amends the SGA Constitution

Changes included vesting the power to appoint Supreme Court justices solely in the office of the Attorney General, reducing the size of the court to seven members, removing recall elections, clarifying the Department of Justice’s title and setting a three-year term limit for justices. 

“This is not just a matter of protocol, but it’s a matter of principle,” Chief Justice Carlos Hernandez said. “Our governance must reflect the interests of the student body. This is a unanimous opinion shared by all active members of the Supreme Court.”

Because the bill is a constitutional amendment, the New SGA Act will be put to a referendum vote during the upcoming election, where all students can choose to indicate their support.


The Senate also passed a bill proposing the creation of a Palestine Rights and Liberation Action Committee. 

The bill outlines SGA’s continued support for Palestinian organizations on campus and states the organizations support for a ceasefire. It further urges leadership to explore options of discontinuing on-campus franchises  such as Starbucks and McDonald’s due to their alleged continued support for Israel. 

“Students have already been boycotting McDonald’s and Starbucks, so with this bill, we will be showing our support to the University in finding new vendors to take their place,” said SGA President Benjamin Rizk. 

The Senate passed a resolution in support of the A.D. Bruce Religion Center’s request for a feasibility study to install wudu stations on campus. 

Wudu stations provide the necessary facilities for Muslims to carry out traditional purification rituals before prayers. In October, the Senate passed a resolution to establish a task force dedicated to planning the placement of Wudu stations on campus. 

However, this initiative faced obstacles  after University officials pointed to Article 1, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution, which restricts the use of public funds or property for religious purposes. 

“After the resolution, we were told that you can’t use state dollars to fund the stations because of the separation of church and state,” Rizk said. “However, it was recommended that we could do things at the religion center where the feasibility study will show how much it will cost to install.”

Another resolution, Supporting All-Halal Protein Food Option in the Student Center, was passed by the Senate.

The resolution advocated for the inclusion of all halal protein choices. It encouraged Chartwells to investigate the feasibility of creating restaurant concepts that emphasize halal, vegan and kosher options in the RAD Center

Campus life

A resolution that supports the removal of the sculpture recently built adjacent to the Cullen Family Plaza Fountain was read for the first time.

“The whole area is supposed to be a community space and they plopped the statue right where people have fun and chill,” Rizk said. “You have to think about the constituents that you’re putting the statue in front of, and it’s clear the public art committee did not think about it.”

The Havah… to Breathe, Air, Life sculpture created by Shahzia Sikander, displays a golden woman with tentacle-like arms and hair reminiscent of goat horns. The statue is scheduled to officially open Feb. 28 and remain until Oct. 31. 

Additionally, a University Bill was passed by the Senate that supports the elimination of plastic bags and straws on campus. The bill urges the University to offer paper and tote bag options in all campus market stores and phase out cash transactions. 

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