New SGA meeting format amid parking concerns

New SGA meeting format amid parking concerns

New SGA meeting format amid parking concerns
March 27
00:40 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n a new meeting format, UNT’s Student Government Association heard potential alleviations to campus parking problems as well as proposed changes to printing in general access labs.

Political science sophomore Abdulrahman Alattry, who represents SGA on the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee, said potential solutions that had been brought up in the committee included restricting freshman from parking campus or raising prices on parking permits.

Alattry said the university is planning on expanding parking and building more parking garages, but parking is going to get worse before it gets better. Freshmen are currently required to live in dormitories their first year.

Though raising the prices for parking are a potential solution, high parking prices is part of the problem. The Highland Street Parking Garage contains more than 900 spaces, but only about 500 students bought passes to park in the garage. The garage currently costs $1.4 million annually to pay off, and, because of this, the garage parking pass costs $115 more than general commuter parking.

Alattry requested student input at adamalattry@live.com.

Lab administrator Judy Hunter presented on the future of general access lab printing. Next fall, instead of printing being unlimited by page but restricted by material, students will start receiving a $30 credit per semester and be allowed to print anything they want up to 1,000 pages.

To print beyond that, students will need to purchase more pages at 3 cents per page. The $30 credit will not roll over to future semesters, but any page credits students actively purchase will roll over.

Currently, students are not allowed to print duplicate copies or things they did not create, among other restrictions. Hunter said that under the credit system, with students paying for pages they print beyond the allotted 1,000, there will be no restrictions.

“[Within] the current system, we have all the policies we have to enforce,” she said. “The idea is, instead of policing things, we let students take responsibility for their own printing resources.”

Hunter said the policy change is both for financial and practical reasons. The general access labs get $3.50 per enrollment hour, as part of the technology use fee, a figure that has not increased since 1998.

The labs placed restrictions on what could be printed because they can’t afford excessive printing, but those restrictions stopped students from printing out articles or duplicates for classmates. The credit system will allow students to print as needed without placing extra financial burden on the labs if it gets out of control.

Hunter said 97 percent of students print fewer than 1,000 pages per semester, so most students will not be affected if they print at their current rates.

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University Program Council president Lucy Hill announced the UPC spring concert, featuring J. Cole. The concert will be held April 24 at 8 p.m. in the Coliseum with two opening acts yet to be determined, with J. Cole expected to take the stage around 9:30 p.m.

Tickets will be available to students online for free March 31, and will include up to 1,000 standing-room-only viewers on the Coliseum floor. If the concert is not sold out after two weeks, guest tickets will come available for $25.

Internally, SGA tried a new approach to this meeting, holding committee meetings before the committee reported. Throughout this semester, the agenda subcommittees had presented their plans to SGA at the end of the meeting and then meeting internally before dismissal. In practice, the committees had presented and then almost immediately left, which resulted in the committees having nothing to present next meeting.

“We’re not just coming here to say we have nothing to do and then get back on Facebook,” said vice president Anthony Brown introducing the change.

The atmosphere was much more productive, and committee presentations were longer and more detailed then they had been this session. Among the highlights were plans for a meet-your-representative event, a “cheat sheet” to help incoming executives and clear training protocol for incoming senators and, potentially, getting hammocks on campus.

President Zachary Brown said he’d had the idea earlier, but he didn’t want to change the system. He decided to implement the switch when speaker pro tempe Shamaal Fletcher had the idea separately and encouraged it.

“The senate structure obviously wasn’t working,” Brown said. “I feel like this system gives them that confidence. Everyone here is still in meeting mode.”

There are two SGA meetings left in the session, though Brown thinks the new format will increase senate productivity notably through those sessions.

“My biggest regret right now, obviously, is that we didn’t do this before,” he said.

Center photo: The internal, public relations and student affairs committees meet during the SGA meeting Wednesday. Previously, committees had met at the end of the meeting. President Zachary Brown believes having them meet in the middle will lead to increased productivity from the senate. Photo by Joshua Knopp / Senior Staff Writer

Feature image: UNT SGA logo. Graphic courtesy of UNT SGA.

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