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Volume 68, Issue 99, Wednesday, February 19, 2003 


SGA poised to build advocacy initiatives

By Matt Dulin
The Daily Cougar

AUSTIN -- After meeting with state lawmakers Tuesday, Student Government Association leaders are developing campus advocacy measures, including seeking out federal grant money to alleviate UHis budget woes and returning to Austin in an attempt to keep Legislature from deregulating state university tuition.

SGA President Dawona Miller said sheis seeking a more proactive role for the SGA in determining the fate of the University.

Of slightly more than 50 applications received last year seeking federal grant money, only three came from Texas, Miller said. Moreover, those three grants received less than $1 million each.

"We need to look into maximizing the potential there," she said.

Miller and SGA Vice President Jon Quintanilla both met with State Rep. Timoteo Garza, who they said tipped them off on the untapped opportunities available through federal grant requests.

"After speaking with Rep. Garza, we got some ideas about looking into alternate sources of money through grants to help get the university more funds," Quintanilla said. "We will remain in contact with Rep. Garza to help us work out the details of that."

Miller said that the SGA will seek the guidance of Texas A&Mis Grant Writing program as well.

"Weill need some help getting through the whole process," Miller said.

The SGA president also mentioned the possibility of making another showing at the capitol building, this time fighting the proposed "tuition deregulation," which Rep. Sylvester Turner said threatens universities like UH.

"There could be a problem if deregulation goes through. UH costs could go up, and that means fewer people will be able to afford the quality education we offer," Miller said.

Tuition deregulation, as it was proposed early this year by the University of Texas System, takes away the stateis power to set public university tuition rates, allowing individual institutions free reign over tuition. In the case of UT, this would let them accrue more revenue to offset the growing costs of running the giant university. 

Rep. Turner, a known opponent of tuition deregulation, offered his support to the SGA representatives and commented on how he was proud to see student government in action.

Miller said she was also excited about the SGA presence at the capitol -- some 20 senators -- which she said was a vast improvement over the "handful" of senators that attended in 2001.

"We had great representation today. We were able to really represent all the students who couldnit be here with us," Miller said.

"The (legislators) were all very welcoming and very pleased to see us there. They were glad to know that students cared and took the time to come show it," she said.

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