UTEP’s student government in brief


Carolina Alvarez

UTEP’s Student Government Association discussed a variety of topics during its Thursday, Sept. 26 meeting

Bryan Mena, Entertainment Editor

Appropriations, updates on special projects, two special election races, an issue with accountability and a trip to Bhutan were among the several things mentioned at UTEP’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting Sept. 26.  

The meeting began more than 30 minutes late, allegedly due to the tardiness of interim-senate secretary Paloma Quezada.  

UTEP students proposed bills 26, 27 and 28 for SGA to provide them with funding to attend conferences. All three bills were unanimously approved and did not warrant any discussion. The amount of appropriations ranged from $250 to $400.  

At general meetings, the SGA Senate almost routinely approves appropriations without any discussion because proposals by students go through a thorough vetting process.  

“All of our bills go through a first and second reading. What happens is that our academic services coordinator receives the bill through email, and she walks them through the process to make sure they meet our criteria,” said Austin Stephens, SGA senate majority leader and appropriations chairman. “(The appropriations committee) is nine senators strong, so we do go over in depth with these individuals (about) the trips and why they are going.”  

The SGA Senate also voted in prospective members into different positions.  

Isaiah Iturralde, a freshman political science major, became a legislative assistant for Senator-at-Large Jordan Dominguez after a unanimous vote. Deliberations by the SGA senate were not shown in the Facebook livestream, only displaying a screen reading, “Please Standby.”   

Three students were unanimously appointed as election commissioners for SGA’s special elections for the positions of nursing collegiate senator and liberal arts collegiate senator, set to take place Oct. 9-10.  

According to Stephens, current liberal arts collegiate senator, Adriana Chavez de la Rosa, will no longer be serving in her position because she is transitioning into her postgraduate studies and decided to move on. The nursing collegiate senator position has been vacant since the spring 2019 general SGA elections.  

Stephens also mentioned that there are three candidates that have expressed interest in each position, totaling six candidates for SGA special election.  

Senator-at-Large Juan Martinez detailed his special project to host a student-only town hall with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar on issues relating to education and the border at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 at the Geology Building room 310.  

The SGA executive branch consisting of the president, vice president for external affairs and vice president for internal affairs all give weekly reports at general SGA meetings.  

SGA President Jessica Martinez gave her report which consisted of reading aloud which senators belong to which university-wide standing committee.  

Martinez also alleged that SGA representatives in the past have not been representing students’ interest by attending committee meetings that discuss ongoing operations.  

“Please keep in mind that this year is going to be completely different than from what happened last year,” Martinez said. “If you do not attend the first meeting, or you’re not being responsive, you guys will be removed from that committee and I will appoint someone else. This is because there has been an issue with having student representatives in those committees, where students have not shown up or not been responsive.”  

Stephens said that he could not comment on the accountability of past administrations, but that UTEP’s dean of students shared with the current administration the concept of shared governance.  

“A big part of that is making sure that we keep students within these committees as well. It includes faculty senate committees and a multitude of department wide committees too,” Stephens said.  

SGA advisor Catie McCorry-Andalis, associate vice president for student engagement and dean of students, also gives a weekly report as advisor at general SGA meetings.  

McCorry-Andalis said that the numbers of student attendance at football games has increased and that students are underutilizing the Miner Gold Card due to a lack of awareness. She also said that there has been an increased demand for tailgates.  

“I, however, will be out-of-pocket, literally out of the country, starting the ninth of October and I’ll be back in the country on the twentieth,” McCorry-Andalis said. “When you find out where I’m gonna go, you know I’ll have to Google the time to recover. I am traveling to Bhutan for a week with Dr. Natalicio. It’s exciting that I’m going back. It is a very hard trip to make.”  

The nature of McCorry-Andalis’ trip to Bhutan with UTEP President Emerita Diana Natalico was not explained in depth at the meeting but Stephens explained that UTEP has close ties with the country of Bhutan and that there is a large population of Bhutanese students at the university. He was not exactly aware of the nature of McCorry-Andalis’ trip, but he assumes that it is for official purposes.  

Bryan Mena may be reached at [email protected] 

Editor’s Note: A previous version indicated that Alexus Padron was the senate secretary as per https://www.utep.edu/student-affairs/sga/people/people.html However, Paloma Quezada, interim-senate secretary, was the one present at that meeting.