SR 1807 A Resolution in Support of the Creation of an Ethnic Studies Class ⎪Introduced in Senate 11/15/18

Executive Summary: The University of Texas at Austin features many introduction classes about several ethnic groups in the US. These include the introduction to Asian American Studies, the introduction to African American Studies, etc. Students outside of the college of liberal arts do not have the opportunity to take multiple classes in this area and thus many of them do not take any of them. In our public K – 12 education system there is a lack of a formalized education in any ethnic studies and many students enter UT with little to no knowledge on the racial history of the US. An introduction to ethnic studies class would provide students in all colleges the opportunity to explore the study of different ethnic groups in the U.S. This legislation aims to create an introduction to ethnic studies class that would be a collaboration between five departments: African and African Diaspora Studies, Asian American Studies, Mexican American Studies, Latin American Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. This class would increase accessibility of ethnic studies to students outside the College of Liberal Arts.

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SR 1806 A Resolution in Opposition to the Removal of Fields of Study Curricula by UT Faculty Council ⎪Introduced in Senate 11/15/18

Executive Summary: The University of Texas at Austin Faculty Council passed a resolution in support of removing the ability of transfer students to receive UT credit for completing fields of study at two-year institutions. Fields of study are sequences of classes in one specific area. If a student completes a field of study at another institution, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board currently requires state schools to accept the field of study as complete at the institution to which a student transfers. Should Faculty Council’s recommendation be implemented students who attempt to transfer in credits equivalent to a field of study at UT will no longer be able to do so. This would adversely affect the academic experience of transfer students by hindering their graduation progress and causing financial strain.

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JR 1808 A Resolution in Support of Scooter Safety and Parking Guidelines on Campus ⎪Introduced in Senate 11/15/18

Executive Summary: Dockless ride sharing vehicles, most acutely Bird and Lime scooters, have steadily increased in usage on the UT campus over the past year, and are now a popular means of transportation for students who need to travel across campus in a short time. However, their popularity has not come without consequences. Unlike traditional bicycles, few students seem aware of existing rules on where scooters or electric bicycles should be parked, and have left vehicles blocking pedestrian paths and entryways to buildings. Also unlike traditional bicycles, which require considerable exertion to go even 15 miles per hour (15 mph), the campus wide speed limit, dockless electric vehicles can reach 15 mph with minimal effort. This results in higher speeds, which correlate with more accidents. Scooter riders have more accidents with road obstacles, other vehicles, and pedestrians, a rate roughly ten times that of traditional bicycles. The worst offenses occur on Speedway Mall, a zone designated with a 5 mph speed limit and a blanket ban on vehicle parking. Some measures have been taken to ensure compliance with existing rules, but more action is needed. Rather than an outright ban, which is plausible if the situation deteriorates, dockless scooters can be brought under existing parking and speed rules so they can remain accessible to all students.

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JR 1805 A Resolution in Opposition of Raising the Required Number of Members for a Registered Student OrganizationIntroduced in Senate 11/15/18

Executive Summary: On November 14th, 2018, the Dean of Students notified student leaders via email of an increase in the required number of members for registered student organizations (RSOs) from 3 people to 10 people. This change comes without a clear justification and may hinder the ability of students to enrich their experiences on the 40 Acres. Furthermore, there are many resources on campus that are limited to RSOs. By changing requirements, a barrier and undue burden is placed on current and future student leaders on campus because they are unable to access these resources. This resolution seeks to allow students to get a well-rounded and enjoyable experience during their time here by opposing this change in requirements.

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JR 1803 A Joint Resolution in Support of UT Professors and UT Gun Free Signage ⎪Introduced in Senate 11/15/18

Executive Summary: President Fenves issued a directive to professors and staff at the University of Texas at Austin to remove the signs on outfacing windows of UT buildings. The signs targeted were mostly in regards to “Gun Free UT,” a protest in response to the passing of House Bill 11 that went into effect August, 1st, 2016. Historically, this rule has not been evenly applied until President Fenves issues this directive. On September, 17th, 2018, President Fenves declared to Faculty Council that a task force would be created to create new Rules and Regulations in response to the outcry from this directive. There was no clarification on who would be on this task force, and since this meeting, no updates have been given. This legislation seeks to add student representation on this task force to ensure the creation of a formal policy that protects the rights of all staff members at UT Austin to express their freedom of speech in their offices and outward facing windows, or define clearly the administration’s outward facing sign policy by the last class day of the Fall semester.

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SR 1805 A Resolution in Support of Allowing Course Seats to be Restricted Based on Certificates and Minors ⎪Introduced in Senate 11/1/18

Executive Summary: The University of Texas at Austin’s course registration system allows for course seats to be restricted by major, honors programs, and more. This system ensures that students in certain programs will be able to get seats in courses. However, the current system does not allow departments to make the same restrictions based on the minor or certificate program a student is enrolled in. This can lead to situations where students in a minor/certificate program are unable to find seats in courses that they need or where students who need the course to complete a major cannot find open spots due to them being taken by students taking them to complete a minor/certificate.

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JR 1802 A Resolution in Support of Creating a Native American and Indigenous Cultural and Resource Center ⎪Introduced in Senate 11/1/18

Executive Summary: This legislation is a statement of student support for the creation of a Native American and Indigenous Cultural and Resource Center on campus. This center will be located in central campus to combat the historical marginalization and displacement that Native American and Indigenous communities continue to endure. Through the hiring of paid staff, provision of centralized resources, service learning opportunities, mentorship, and financial assistance, this center will be a space conducive to the academic, spiritual, cultural, and personal growth of Native American and Indigenous students. This center will not only promote cultural, language, spiritual and intellectual diversity on campus, but also in the greater Austin community and Central Texas area.

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SR 1804 A Resolution In Support of Changing the Status Quo of Guessing Penalty Policies in the Operating System of Quest  ⎪Introduced in Senate 10/11/18

Executive Summary: This bill seeks to change the default status of the negative grading policy utilized in platforms such as Quest. Currently, students who complete homework on Quest are able to receive negative points on questions for which they respond with inaccurate answers, discouraging them from attempting challenging problems. We argue for the default status of the Quest grading policy to be turned off, and if a professor feels particularly strongly for the negative grading policy for certain assignments it would be their prerogative to turn it on. Many students are just being introduced to new concepts when completing these assignments, and thus should not be negatively penalized when applying these concepts for the first time.

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JR 1801 A Resolution in Support of Course Content Disclosures in Regards to Sexual Assault on Syllabi ⎪Introduced in Senate 10/11/18

Executive Summary: Many members of the University of Texas system have reported being survivors of sexual assault. When exposed to content that features sexual assault, these individuals may suffer higher levels of emotional trauma, and there are some courses that feature such topics that are relevant to the course material. When this material is shown without warning, a student’s mental health may be negatively impacted. This legislation seeks to reduce the potential distress of sexual assault survivors by supporting the inclusion of a note on syllabi detailing dates that sensitive content may be shown. By identifying these dates, students can take steps to protect their mental health.

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SR 1803 A Resolution in Support of Displaying all Completed Majors on Transcripts ⎪Introduced in Senate 9/27/18

Executive Summary:  The University of Texas at Austin offers students the ability to work towards any number of majors. However, official transcripts only display a maximum of two majors. Students who have worked to earn more than two majors do not receive official recognition for their accomplishment. This could potentially harm students looking for jobs as their transcript doesn’t reflect all their areas of study. This also discourages students who want to pursue more than two majors. This legislation advocates for transcripts to display all of a students’ majors on their transcript.

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SR 1802 A Resolution in Support of Integrating Potential Test Credit into the Interactive Degree Audit System ⎪Introduced in Senate 9/27/18

Executive Summary: The University of Texas at Austin features an Interactive Degree Audit where students can track their progress towards the completion of their degree. Many students have credits through AP/IB/Dual credit that progress them towards completing their requirements. However, the testing site where students claim credit does not show how potential credit will affect their degree progress. Thus, many students are wary of claiming credit due to the expenses associated with it since they aren’t sure how much they will need to claim. In addition, many advisors tell freshmen to hold off on claiming credit until later semesters where they are more knowledgeable of the credit they will need to claim. This leads to students having later registration times and makes the credit-claiming process less transparent. This legislation advocates for the creation of a system on the Interactive Degree Audit that allows students to “apply” credit they have onto their audit to see how their credit would potentially affect their IDA degree percentage completion.

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SR 1801 In Support of Decreasing Perceived Financial Barriers to Study Abroad Program ⎪Introduced in Senate 9/13/18

Executive Summary: ​Many students have a difficult time finding study abroad programs that work under their financial situation. This legislation seeks to facilitate study abroad program accessibility by introducing reforms to the study abroad website. This can be accomplished by adding a “Search by Program Cost” filter to the “Find a Program” page. Furthermore, although a “Low Cost Programs” page exists, it should provide information regarding specific affordable programs. In addition, creating a page that lists program-specific scholarships, if any are available, and linking it to each individual program site could resolve an anticipated or perceived financial barrier. While a general “Scholarships” tab can already be found on the program page, making program-specific scholarships directly viewable can make the study abroad search much less daunting and more organized.

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