SGA discusses president's veto of meal compensation legislation during Feb. 14 meeting

Senate votes against meal compensation, House passes parking accommodations legislation

Vice President Dylan Baker Speaks about a new opening in the executive cabinet, Feb. 7, in the Bovee University Center.

Students discussed the recent veto of legislation regarding meal compensation for those living in the South and Towers Community at a Student Government Association meeting on Feb. 14. 

At the virtual meeting, President Katelyn King listed her reasons for vetoing the resolution followed by a response from the author of the piece, Rafael Garza. 

One reason King cited for the veto was the minimal likelihood of receiving compensation if the resolution refused flex-dollars as a form of compensation.

In response, Garza clarified that flex-dollars were never refused, but were strongly disapproved as a form of compensation by students in the respective communities. Many students at the meeting maintained the idea that flex-dollars would not be a sufficient form of compensation.

“Flex - especially if it does not roll over - will not benefit a lot of students, especially with the limited variety of food the markets provide,” an SGA representative said.

SGA members had mixed opinions about what they called the “threatening undertone” of the legislation, which included a three-week deadline for compensation if it passed through President King.

Some students said that the time limit was necessary to see immediate action; others said they want to "apply pressure but respectfully" as they believe that might be more likely to bring about change from the administration.

King also objected to the current legislation because no compensation plan was set in place in the Spring of 2020, when students were forced to evacuate campus and eradicate their meal plan due to COVID-19. 

“Flex dollars were not saved, and only a housing credit was applied,” King stated. 

In response, Garza said this was a missed opportunity for SGA to follow through with its mission statement by providing and promoting advocacy for its constituents.

Garza agreed with King that the legislation would benefit from mentioning a specific amount for compensation.

Garza worked with the director of the Residence Housing Association to settle on a 10% reimbursement of the original meal plan price, which he plans to specify as he moves forward with the resolution.

In discussion, several students also mentioned the university's plans to replace Lot 22 with a new apartment complex. They suggested that the money funding the construction could instead be used to compensate students in the South and Towers Community's dealing with meal hardship.

Many SGA members in the house maintained their support for the legislation, but the senate voted not to pass the meal compensation legislation in its current form.

The resolution may be revised and reintroduced at a future SGA meeting.

Other Legislation

The SGA House also passed “A Resolution to Expand the Parking Accommodations Offered to Students with Disabilities by Student Disability Services and Parking Services”.