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SBP vetoes controversial concealed carry bill

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 23:11

Student Body President, John Claybrook, vetoed “The Texas A&M Personal Protection Bill” on Nov. 20. This brings the bill, which advocates for concealed carry in campus buildings, back to the Senate floor for another vote on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Student Senate passed the concealed carry bill with a 38-19 margin on Oct. 31.

Scott Bowen, senior chemical engineering major and speaker of the Senate, said a new vote on the bill will take place and a two-thirds majority is needed to override a veto by the student body president. The bill passed with exactly a two-thirds majority.

John Claybrook, student body president and senior finance major, said he vetoed the bill because he did not think the majority of students supported concealed carry in campus buildings.

“After the 2009 and 2011 referendums where students voted in both cases against having concealed carry on campus, I just don’t see, in any way, how Senate’s vote could have been representative of what students really believe,” Claybrook said.

Claybrook said he is in favor of a referendum where all students could vote on the issue.

“I think that [a referendum] would be the best way the handle an issue like this,” Claybrook said. “With a historical basis to believe that students are against this, I think that we need to continually bring it up to the students.”

Cary Cheshire, junior political science major, said he believes that most students support concealed carry on campus.

“As the bill author, I feel like that is representative of students and that the veto should be overridden,” Cheshire said.

Student senators that are in favor of the bill argue that a referendum is not necessary.

Another bill that is being voted on is the “Non-Academic Student Fee Reform Act,” which would give Student Senate considerably more power over the use of student fees.

Fernando Sosa, bill author and sophomore political science major, said this bill seeks to give elected representatives more control over fees.

“The first stage of the bill seeks to abolish the Student Service Fee Advisory Board (SSFAB) and the Aggie Green Fund Advisory Board,” Sosa said. “This does not mean eliminating the Green Fee, just to reform the governing body that oversees its.”

Bowen said SSFAB is a student committee that makes recommendations for how the Division of Student Affairs should be funded out of the University Advancement Fee. It is a nine-member board of students appointed partially by Dr. Loftin and partially by the Student Government.

SSFAB is mandated by the Texas Legislative, so legislative action is needed to remove it.

“[SSFAB] is completely unelected and not in any way accountable to the student body. They make decisions and that is the decision that goes to the administration,” Sosa said.

Sosa said the second stage of the bill is to be implemented in 2015 in the next state legislative session.

“It would give the Student Government control over any decisions that involve non-academic student funding,” Sosa said.

This second stage would give the Senate Finance Committee a significant amount of responsibility, as these Senators would make all decisions on non-academic student funding.

“A lot of the top-ranked school’s Student Governments have this,” Sosa said. “It is a lot of responsibility but a lot of time I don’t see a lot of responsibility coming from the administration either.”

 

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