Representative Manuel Hernandez brought forth a resolution that would support the University’s efforts to make UNC a sanctuary campus.
Hernandez’s main concern was with undocumented students and their fears of deportation or being treated differently by the University during President-elect Donald Trump’s presidency.
“The fears that UNC students still have are real and that’s not gonna go away by saying don’t worry about it,” Hernandez said.
Some members of Congress feared the passage of the resolution would threaten the University’s funding due to a bill passed by Gov. Pat McCrory that outlawed sanctuary cities in North Carolina. Representative Kennith Echeverria said he felt the passage of the resolution would not have such an effect.
“We’re endorsing the idea by passing this — we’re not changing any legislation on the books,” Echeverria said. “As Student Congress, our job is to voice the concerns of students and that’s exactly what this bill will do”.
Due to the amount of discussion over the resolution, Congress held a roll call vote. The resolution passed with a 17-7 majority.
Finance committee chairperson Ben Albert presented a bill that proposed a $10 increase in the Student Organization Fee.
“There’s over 600 groups total on campus ... it takes a lot to support all these groups in a vibrant campus,” Albert said.
The fee would funnel into two sources: $5 would go directly toward increasing money available for organizations and $5 would go to the Student Activities Fund Office. Both Albert and Speaker of Student Congress Cole Simons spoke to the importance of SAFO having its own source of funding.
“It needs a sustainable funding source that’s guaranteed every year,” Albert said.
This change would mean that SAFO’s available funds would not come out of Student Congress’s budget, thus freeing up more funds for the Finance Committee to distribute. The bill passed with a majority. For this to actually take effect, the student body will have to vote on a referendum.
Another bill, presented by Albert, proposed changes to the retroactive funding process for organizations that apply for funding during the first cycle and are revisited. The bill passed with a majority in both Finance Committee and Student Congress.
A concurrent resolution to support and affirm sensitivity trainings, passed at the Rules and Judiciary Committee meeting on Nov. 15, passed with a majority.