Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

    Student Government officers vote to eliminate mandatory office hours


    On Thursday, Jan. 20, UTSA’s Student Government Association (SGA) failed to pass a resolution that would require all student senators to serve mandatory office hours during the week.

    Generally, votes are taken by acclimation. However, this vote was taken via roll-call which means that the votes were not anonymous and each senator’s vote was recorded.

    Serving SGA office hours would mean that the association would be open to constituents and to be open for discussion concerning student issues.

    The members would also spend their office time doing homework, responding to constituents and faculty members via e-mail, making phone calls to organize events around campus and writing bills and by-laws that would be brought up in future meetings, a few of which now include the future budget cuts and the possibility of allowing guns on campus.

    This particular resolution needed a two-thirds majority, or 66 percent vote in favor, but failed to pass by even a majority.

    “The reasoning behind the opposition to that is the fact that everybody is always in the office anyway”, said College of Business Senator Natalie Watts. “It’s done by the honor’s system right now, and I believe that the majority of senators felt that that was adequate enough because we don’t have funds allocated to us yet for each senator to pass around. Any formal office hour is not really needed at this time.”

    This issue has been in discussion among SGA members since last year, during the period when a senator sign-in sheet was in circulation.

    “There were a lot of people, like me, who forgot to sign in a lot of times and the president had to kick some members out because they didn’t meet the office hour requirement even though we always were there,” said Student Affairs Committee member David Yang.

    The SGA office is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, but many members have been known to stay in the office as late as midnight.

    “Everybody is there all the time and each senator knows who actually participates and who doesn’t,” Watts said.

    Although student senators and other active SGA members, including chairs and volunteers, will no longer be required to serve mandatory office hours, mandatory office time will still be required for executive members such as the SGA president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.

    “I’ve been in SGA for the past four years”, said SGA vice president Nicole Munos. “When I came in the office hours were mandatory and set so that we could do what we were elected to do which is work for the students and constituents. I don’t feel like this not passing is going to mean that we won’t be doing that anymore, I just feel that people don’t want to be regulated any more than we already are in class.” Munos added that she puts in roughly 20 office hours a week, not including the weekly executive member meetings and general assemblies, when it is only required for her to serve one hour.

    In the past, the option for SGA members to serve mandatory hours has gone in and out of favor, based on the votes of the members of that time. The current group of SGA members feels that having mandatory office hours is unnecessary, and is confident they will continue to be an advocate of the students of UTSA, without having to track their time spent in the office.

    SGA meetings are held Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. in the Harris Room of the University Center building.

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