The Student Senate held a meeting this Wednesday, March 31 to discuss several resolutions, including ones discussing a recent rise in Asian discrimination, the Restricted Occupancy Overlay, or ROO, proposed by the College Station City Council and the defense of academic freedom.
The “Stop the ROO” resolution, made to oppose the ROO ordinance proposed by College Station’s City Council, discussed the push to limit the amount of unrelated individuals that can live in a home together in single-family neighborhoods and the impact this has on student housing.
“This ordinance, if passed, would constrict students’ options for housing and limit affordability,” the resolution reads. “The Restricted Occupancy Overlay Ordinance is discriminatory to the many students that choose to live in single-family neighborhoods, who often are lower income students that cannot afford the high amenity apartment complexes that are prominent in College Station.”
The senators who introduced the resolution, sophomore Carly Oldag and junior Alexia Hernandez, were asked about the city council’s current stance.
“I would say it has a likelihood of passing,” Oldag said. “They’re really looking for, rather than really just arguments, just a lot of voices and a lot of opinions, so we need as many numbers and as many people as we can at the city council meetings just advocating for students, voicing that this is not something that is good for College Station.”
Oldag and Hernandez were also questioned about the effect of these ordinances on college towns.
“It has usually led to property values devaluing, so [for] property owners that want to rent to college students, it's not beneficial for them,” Hernandez said. “It has also led to … basically a shortage of student housing or led to student housing being more unaffordable.”
The resolution passed with a vote of 42 in favor, one against and one in abstention.
The following resolution discussed extending support for the Asian American community on campus following the March 16 shooting in Atlanta leaving six Asian Amercians dead and the rise of anti-Asian sentiment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution, which went straight to voting without discussion, gave examples of the hate and harmful experiences Asian Americans face.
“A national report released by the reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate revealed nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate incidents were reported from March 2020 to February 2021, with women made up a higher percentage of the reports (68 percent),” the resolution reads. “Roughly 503 incidents took place in 2021 alone, and the three most common types of incidents reported were verbal harassment, shunning and physical assault.”
The resolution also detailed the Student Senate’s position on the issue.
“The Texas A&M Student Senate condemns acts of violence or hate against the Asian American community, or any community, and stands in solidarity with Asian American students at Texas A&M that have experienced racism or the ramifications of racism during these difficult times,” the resolution reads. “The Texas A&M Student Senate recognizes that taking appropriate steps to eliminate racism requires standing in solidarity with other historically marginalized groups that also experience discrimination faced toward their communities.”
The resolution passed with 42 in favor, 0 against and one in abstention.
Finally, the Student Senate introduced the “Defense of Academic Freedom Bill” to be covered at the next meeting, which was introduced “calling for the defense of academic freedom against influence from the Chinese Communist Party and other authoritarian entities.” In addition, the meeting included the swearing in of the newly elected senators for the 74th session of the Texas A&M Student Senate.