SGA votes to support Health Center fees, alma mater change

The Student Government Association voted to support the creation of a Health Center fee during its meeting Tuesday night.

Numerous senators and guests discussed the bill and how the new fee would benefit SHSU.

As currently proposed the new fee would cost students an extra $30 per regular semester or $15 for summer sessions, and the money generated would go towards renovating the Health Center and providing more services.

The bill passed with a majority of votes, though there was some debate on the issue and several amendments made to the language of the bill.

Sen. Stanley Barr brought up that he felt the amount of student input on the Health Center bill was too limited and did not fairly represent the whole university.

Sen. Jason Horn responded that it would be impossible to create legislation by seeking out all students to get input.

“You all have to remember that this is a representative democracy,” Horn said. “Unfortunately, we can’t give all 13,000 students vote in all issues. Like the Senate and the House of Representative and all other legislative bodies in the U.S. , its states serve as trustees picked by their constituents to make decisions for them. In some cases we must act in what is the greater good of all the students as opposed to necessarily what they might want at the time.”

Members of the SGA also discussed that the reason many people may not be in favor of the bill is that they are ignorant to the benefits of the fee.

SGA guest junior Bobbie Burks, a reporter from Cable Channel 7 News, said many students originally against the bill or indifferent to it changed their minds when told that a new Health Center would save them money in the long run.

“What their response to me was after I informed them, they were for it,” Burks said.

Among the rest of the legislation were three other bills, including one concerning the SGA urging student organization to not support credit card giveaway programs on campus due to the debt problems such cards may present to students. A bill to fund up to $450 to the “Across-the-University Writing Program Reception,” which recognizes students for their writing abilities and to provide food at the reception was considered. A third bill to change to number of graduation ceremonies from two to three was also discussed. All three bills passed unanimously.

The SGA also approved an un-funded organization application for financial assistance for the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. The $1,018 UFO will be used to help fund a block party.

The other major issue discussed during the meeting was the suggestion to change the school’s Alma Mater brought forth by SHSU President James Gaertner and other faculty and staff members.

“It’s been brought to my attention, I really thought about it myself, the fact that our Alma Mater is very generic,” Gaertner said. “You go through it and you don’t know if it’s a university or high school, it has nothing distinctive about it. Not one word. So it was suggested that we look into the possibility of modifying it.”

Gaertner said that he and his staff had met with students, faculty, the Alumni Association and staff council to get thoughts and feelings on the issue. He said they settled on four different possibilities.

“The vote is as I see it, to keep everything as it is, no change whatsoever,” Gaertner said. “Another vote is you can vote to have a completely new Alma Mater. The third option is to add a second verse to our current Alma Mater. The last would be the new stanza alone.”

Gaertner added that he wanted the direction of the Alma Mater to be a student decision.

“I really don’t want to put my stamp on this, I really want it to be something you decide completely independently,” Gaertner said.

Music professor and director of choral studies Allen Hightower agreed with Gaertner, and also sang the different versions of the song that were proposed to help show the senators the distinctions between them.

“Neither of us have an agenda of feeling like we want to make this change, but just to put it before these various groups of people and to have you consider this,” Hightower said.

Sen. Barr said he supported the third choice.

“I feel that these here changes would be great. I don’t like the Alma Mater; I agree with Dr. Gaertner, that it’s too generic. I like the third one, ‘Hail to Sam Houston, school we love the best.'”

Sen. Horn also supported the third option.

“I like the third idea, because the whole point of this is to get away from the trite, traditional, everybody’s Alma Mater, we might as well go with new melody as well,” Horn said. “Also I humbly recommend that we don’t mess with the structure of the lyrics to just adopt it or reject it as is.”

SGA members and others present at the meeting voted in favor of option four, the replacement of the current Alma Mater with the proposed second verse, with a final vote of18 votes on option four.

SGA President Helena L. Banks also discussed the SGA’s trip to Austin, which included speaking to State Sen. Royce West, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee concerning the possible name change.

“We asked about our name changing to a state university, and he explained that with no uncertainty that our name will never change.”

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