SGA plans guaranteed tuition forum
By Emily Rodriguez
Students and faculty have the opportunity to ask A&M-San Antonio’s administrators who make up the Executive Team and financial aid staff questions about guaranteed tuition plans.
Andres Holliday, Student Government Association president, announced the forum regarding a guaranteed tuition plan Friday during a regular SGA meeting.
SGA’s last spring forum will take place at both campuses: one at 3 p.m. April 21 in adjoining Rooms 204/207 of Main Campus Building, and the other at Brooks City-Base Campus 4 p.m. April 23 in an undetermined room.
Last year the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 29 which requires public universities to provide fixed-rate tuition plans. As a result, in May of 2013, member universities of the Texas A&M System were authorized to offer a guaranteed tuition and fee plan for Fall 2014.
Dr. Melissa Mahan, vice president for student affairs, clarified that A&M-San Antonio’s guaranteed tuition and fee plan includes mandatory fees.
The Board of Regents will discuss details and vote on the plan during their May 1 meeting at Texas A&M University-College Station.
SGA previously hosted a forum on the recreational sports fee in February. Students asked the administration questions regarding the fee and details on implementation.
The fee was approved by 141 votes out of 251 students. The board will either approve or reject the recreational fee May 1.
Commitment to attendance and participation
Issues of senator attendance led Holliday to ask all executive board members and senators to sign the SGA constitution to “reinforce the relationship between ourselves and the constitution.”
“There were a lot of participation and attendance issues to the point to where we almost had a removal (of a senator). We want to clarify and make sure that everyone is on the same page,” he said in an interview following the meeting.
Several SGA members balance work, family and academics.
Tessa Owens, biology senior and senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, brought her son Jackson, 2, to the meeting because she could not find a babysitter before the meeting. Jackson spent the meeting stealing the hearts and pens of SGA members.
Jenna Mata-Bonilla, college of arts and sciences senator, faced removal from office; the first in SGA’s history.
Internal affairs committee chair Whitney Newton and co-chair Krystal Kirk filed a formal letter of complaint against Mata-Bonilla, citing a lack of attendance and participation.
Mata-Bonilla attended Friday’s meeting. Holliday said in an interview Tuesday that her removal remains undetermined.
In addition to serving on this university’s SGA, Mata-Bonilla holds the vice president position for Palo Alto College’s SGA.
“I’ve never really been a big fan of impeachments because, you know, it’s a stressful situation and can be tough,” Holliday said in an interview March 18. “The constitution is set up a certain way where if a group of senators get together they can impeach somebody and I can’t do anything about it.”
All attending members received and signed a copy of the constitution and its bylaws.
“It’s important that we rededicate ourselves to that. You know how when people get married sometimes people will renew their wedding vows? It’s kind of the same concept for me and that’s what I was trying to push,” Holliday said. “Let’s rededicate ourselves to the constitution and make sure we’re in focus with it as much as possible.”
Mata-Bonilla could not comment by deadline.
Naming the university mascot
Names for the university’s mascot, the jaguar, are under consideration. SGA will compile a list of potential names and request student input.
The association’s Facebook page lists name suggestions for the jaguar. The association will collect other suggestions via email and on campus bulletin boards around campus.
Names earning the most likes on the SGA page are “Mick Jaguar” and “Jax.”
General name submissions are accepted through April 2. Students can vote on the mascot’s name April 14-18.
The official name of the Jaguar mascot will be announced April 27 at the Festival de Cascarones.
Induction of senators
In other business, two senators were sworn into their positions. Owens will hold position as senator for the College of Arts and Sciences. Kinesiology senior Allison Garcia will serve as senator for the College of Education and Kinesiology.
Senators represent each respective college’s interests and create legislation for SGA.
Holliday will lead the next SGA meeting at 5:30 p.m. April 4 in adjoining Rooms 204/207 at Main Campus Building.
For more information, call SGA at 210-784-1329.