‘Lots of opportunities’ at first SGA meeting

Chloe Phillips

To discuss tuition, upcoming campus events and ways to honor cornerback Robert Grays’ memory, the Student Government Association held its first official meeting on Oct. 3 in Clark Student Center.

Keith Lamb, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, informed attendees about this year’s budget cut and how the university generates revenue.

“We receive about 20 percent of our budget from the state of Texas. You all pay designated tuition, about $130 per credit hour,” Lamb said.

Initially, the university expected to have $1.2 million cut from state funding. The legislature notified them in late May that the actual total was $1.7 million.

“Suddenly, we had to find another $500,000 to absorb in the budget,” Lamb explained. “Designated tuition had to pick up more of the slack and so did student services.”

After the officers’ reports and announcements, they discussed the torchlight parade and bonfire and a memorial for Grays.

The torchlight parade began in 1988 to coincide with the homecoming bonfire, which serves as a pep rally for the homecoming football game.

However, due to recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, SGA officers created a task force with presidents of large campus organizations. Through the presidents, they gave out a survey for feedback on continuing this campus tradition.

In order for officers to recommend continuing the tradition, Maria Peña, SGA president and political science and history senior, stated that some students felt the conversation was important for them to address their concerns with possible comparisons.

“For now, the general consensus is we’d like to continue this bonfire/tradition of the torchlight parade,” she said. “We should pass legislation that specifies why we have the torchlight parade and why it’s important for Midwestern as a part of our traditions.

To honor Grays, SGA officers wanted to have a tangible way to honor him on campus. 

“[We want to] plant a tree and put a memorial plaque,” Damian De Silva, SGA vice president, said. “Or — what has been more favored by RHA [Residence Hall Association] and the football players — to put a bench along the coliseum.”

Madison Brown, radiology freshman, said she enjoyed the meeting.

“I liked how there’s a lot of opportunities for different people to speak about their upcoming events and what’s happening on campus,” Brown said.

Brown said she also liked how senators were able to speak about their organizations’ upcoming events. 

“It was a really good way to inform us all,” Brown said.