Previously on SGA: Stress is high, but textbook prices are higher

The following covers the SGA meeting on Feb. 2


Climate Check

Junior senator Indigo Pearson started Climate Check with concerns over strict attendance policies outlined at the beginning of the semester. Adviser Demetrius Brown, Dean of Students, responded that any concerns over attendance policies that students find unfair (or do not account for things like family emergencies) should be directed toward Jennifer Henderson, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Senator Pearson also inquired about lots A and B of Alamo Stadium as they are closed for city COVID testing. President Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh said these lots are not open parking for Trinity students, so if students were used to parking there, they would need to find somewhere else.

Junior senator Donya Ahmadi asked if summer classes will be conducted online. Adviser Brown said that most coursework will be in-person going forward as the university resumes standard operations. If a course is conducted remotely, this would be a professor’s individual choice.

Senior Communications Chair Rebecca Wicker mentioned that she has a class of around 30 people in a small Northrup classroom, making it impossible to maintain social distance. Adviser Brown recommended reaching out to the Nerve Center directly with any concerns regarding compliance to COVID protocols or unsafe conditions.

Goals and programs for the spring semester

President Chapin-Eiserloh mentioned that Free Food Fridays would continue this semester and that SGA would continue working toward goals regarding open educational resources, addressing high textbook prices and stress within STEM majors.

Textbook prices

Senator Pearson recommended that professors be directed toward Project Gutenberg, an online library of free e-books, so that students know there might be cheap, if not free, options out there for their course books.

Sophomore senator Danae Barkocy asked if there was a Facebook page or other social media outlets for campus-wide textbook exchanges. It was uncertain whether these resources were active this semester.

First-year senator Kai Velasquez asked what the likelihood was of creating a scholarship or fund specifically for students who can’t afford to buy textbooks. Adviser Brown said this should be built into the student emergency fund, and Adviser Jamie Thompson added that money could be distributed by check so as not to complicate students’ financial aid offerings.

Communications Chair Wicker shared a Google Form where students are encouraged to submit the amount of money they spent on textbooks for the semester. President Chapin-Eiserloh emphasized the importance of data in advocating for avenues that can help students with the high cost of books.

Senator Ahmadi brought up a class where she had to pay to access homework as well as the textbook. Online programs that contain coursework are harder to get around by finding free PDFs, she said.

Reduced price washing and drying machines

Senior senator Gavin Barrera asked for an update on free or reduced price washing and drying machines for students living on campus. Adviser Brown explained that this is a fiscal year change and that progress is being made, so hopefully there will be an announcement soon about washing and drying machines for the coming August.

New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website

Adviser Brown sent a link to a new website for the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion plan that contains updates where the community can track the most recent changes according to the diversity report.

Managing stress

Adviser Thompson announced that there will be a support group coming soon that will focus on the stress involved with STEM majors. Adviser Brown emphasized the importance of having mental health resources readily available while creating goals to reduce the factors causing stress on campus.

Officer reports

Junior Chief of Staff Lisel Faust was made the representative for the voter engagement task force. According to Adviser Thompson, there will be a voter registration partnership between MOVE Texas and SGA for Douglass Day. This will take place outside the library on Monday Feb. 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Senior Vice President Nasim Salehitezangi reminded everyone that the finance meeting would take place on Feb. 9 for groups wanting funding, and that there will be two senate meetings in March.