The Special Affairs Committee of the Student Senate officially dissolved Friday because it was struggling to meet quorum and the chairperson resigned.

The quorum is the minimum amount of committee participants needed to have a vote within the committee. The committee needs to vote on resolutions that are researched in it before the resolution is voted on by the entire Student Senate.

If the quorum isn’t met, the committees aren’t allowed to vote on a resolution, which would prolong the resolution process, said Cecilia Silva, Speaker of the Senate. The existing quorum for committees is seven senators, she said.

Tressa Beatty, Special Affairs Committee chairperson, resigned for personal reasons, Silva said. Beatty is the second committee chairperson that has resigned this semester.

Samuel Morrall, Student Affairs Committee chairperson, resigned earlier in the semester, and Roman Vasquez took the chairperson position after an interview with the Student Government Leadership Team, Silva said.

Silva said she made the decision after seeking advice from Jennifer Fox Taylor, Student Governance assistant director.

“I just told her I was really worried about the wiggle room,” Silva said to Taylor about the committee not meeting quorum.

Silva said she accounted for days when inclement weather would cause people to not attend meetings and members that could be removed for absences or tardies.

The Special Affairs Committee was chosen in particular because it had the least amount of members and resolutions in comparison to the other committees, she said.

The discussion to dissolve the committee started late last week, and she emailed the committee members today about their new committee assignments, Silva said.

“This is a pretty quick process,” Silva said.

Senators and resolutions from the committee have been allocated evenly across the three remaining committees, she said. Two senators were assigned to the Community Affairs Committee and three to the Student Affairs Committee, Silva said.

Aakankhya Patro, Academic Affairs Committee chairperson, said the dissolution added four senators and two resolutions from the dissolved committee to the Academic Affairs Committee.

Two of the existing committees now have 10 members, and the third has nine members, Silva said.

Patro said the senators she received from the dissolved committee allow for more thorough research because the committee has more people to do it. She also has to form more research assignments to make sure that every committee member gets one.

“It’s not more work,” Patro said. “I just have to think of more research questions.”

The resolutions that each committee received from the dissolved committee could allow for senators to reach their participation point minimums for each month, Silva said.

Each Student Government member must reach 20 participation points for each month. Participation points for senators can be earned by doing research, submitting resolutions, bringing their constituents to speak in an open forum and more.

Adithya Vadlamani, College of Engineering senator, said he didn’t get the email about his new committee assignment. He was able to bring his experience working with the resolutions that came from the Special Affairs Committee to the Academic Affairs Committee meeting Tuesday.


Dalton Heitmeier is the 86th Texas Legislature beat reporter.

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