SGA swears in chief justice, passes bills

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    A new chief justice was sworn in Tuesday at the House of Student Representatives meeting, filling a position that has been open since the end of last semester.Trevor Heaney, president of the Student Government Association, said after a month of reviewing applicants, Christina Ruffini, a senior news-editorial journalism and international communication major, was best to fill the position.

    Tori Hutchens, elections and regulations chairwoman, said the committee “grilled her thoroughly and passed her through.”

    After a unanimous vote in the House, Neal Jackson, a junior neuroscience major who stepped down from the position last semester, swore Ruffini in as his replacement.

    Ruffini was not immediately available for comment after the meeting.

    Jonathan Leer, a junior class representative, said Ruffini is a person who will serve the position well, and that she has been involved in SGA before.

    Larry Markley, an SGA adviser, spoke to the House about specific plans for the new University Union and residence halls.

    The new University Union, budgeted to cost $40.7 million, will be 27,000 square feet larger than the current Student Center, he said.

    Construction on the residence halls will begin this summer and will be completed in about a year, he said. The University Union will be started in December or January and will be completed in one to two years, he added.

    Markley said the construction will provide a hassle for students and faculty on campus.

    “It’s going to put stress on everyone having the middle of campus torn up,” Markley said, “but it is something that can be worked through.”

    The University Union, which will be situated near the current faculty/staff parking lot, will include dining services, an auditorium, a heritage center for prospective students, offices for student organizations and a clock tower, which he assured students will not surpass the height of the steeple on Robert Carr Chapel.

    He said the AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences will move into the current Student Center, and the second floor may be converted to classrooms and offices, but any changes in the Student Center or Reed Hall will not begin until the University Union is complete.

    The House also passed bills to purchase a video camera to support efforts to facilitate and publish teacher evaluations and to support the expansion of languages offered at TCU.

    Justin Brown, a representative for the College of Fine Arts, said the video camera would be used to record House meetings and to document SGA and Programming Council events.

    He said the camera, which will cost about $1,000 with equipment, is necessary because it will provide accurate records of meetings for students and representatives to review.

    Jason Ratigan, Academic Affairs chairman, said the committee will work on finding a way to implement a student evaluation of professors that could be published for other students.

    Ratigan said the survey is needed because the only way for students to read about a prospective professor is through www.ratemyprofessors.com, which he said does not provide an accurate picture of instructors.

    Ratigan also presented the bill to support the expansion of foreign languages at TCU because he said the university emphasizes the importance of an international education for students in its mission statement.

    Although a resolution to support this venture does not mean that SGA will take responsibility for accomplishing it, the House does agree to support the university in implementing additional languages such as Latin, Russian, Chinese, Hindi, Farsi and Arabic by passing the bill.