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Students attend Student Government public forum to speak to president

Students give their comments in front of a full audience during a public forum
Students give their comments in front of a full audience during a public forum Feb. 5.

Photo by Marina Bustillo-Mendoza | Staff Photographer

On Feb. 5, at approximately 5:45 p.m., the march organized by the Pan-African Action Committee to impeach student body President Connor Clegg, departed from the Fighting Stallions on the Quad making their way to the Student Government public forum at the LBJ Student Center Teaching Theater scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Students marched to LBJ chanting “hey hey, ho ho, Connor Clegg has got to go,” as they held signs with slogans that read “Racism is NOT something that can be APOLOGIZED away.” It took about 15 minutes for the students to get to the theater. Students filled the theater, leaving space only in the first two rows for student senators.

Students chanted “the people, united, will never be divided” and “step down” until Jackie Merritt, vice president of Student Government, banged her gavel to officially start the Student Government public forum.

Merritt explained the forum’s agenda to the crowd; students had two minutes to voice comments followed by responses from senators, if senators wished to give a response. Immediately after Merritt concluded the introduction of the forum, students lined behind the podium.

As students expressed their discontent with Clegg, a handful of senators gave their responses to student’s comments. The line behind the podium gained momentum and before every student could use their two minutes, the public forum came to an end. Students continued to take turns speaking into the Student Government meeting that followed. Clegg, senators and presidential candidates had the opportunity to grant interviews.

“I’m going to do what I do every night and I’m going to go home and pray,” Clegg said. “I came here tonight not to talk, but to listen. At the end of the day, I realize that I made a mistake four years ago and we’ve got to see what comes of it. If there’s any decision made I’m sure the whole campus will know.”

Elijah Miller, presidential candidate and criminal justice junior, said he doesn’t feel at home at Texas State.

“I’m a senator, I do my thing,” Miller said. “I put on a suit. It doesn’t matter how you play the game.”

Preston Nieves, presidential candidate and political science sophomore commented on the responsibilities of a student body president.

“When somebody is elected to represent a broader audience there’s a higher standard to be held,” Nieves said. “Both remarks by Rudy (Rudy Martinez, former star columnist and philosophy senior) and (Clegg) were controversial. Both remarks caused a lot of people to get upset. (Martinez) was not elected to represent the people.”

In addition to the diverse group of students who attended the public forum, there were also student organizations in attendance like Latinas Unidas, PAAC, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Unit 6875-B, Texas Freedom Network Texas Rising for LGBTQIA Equality and Student Community of Progressive Empowerment.

Valeria Escalante, electronic media junior and president of Latinas Unidas, said she likes the opportunity students were given to voice their opinions.

“This institution, President Trauth and the student body president do not represent what Texas State is about,” Escalante said. “They spout that this is a Hispanic- Serving Institution, but when we try to pass that bill to get a lawyer here to students who fear for their protection in this country they did nothing. What I just experienced right now gave me hope that Texas State will change.”

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