Student Referendum on Student Center at TAMIU Dec. 2

Students at Texas A&M International University will have an historic opportunity Monday, Dec. 2, to vote on a referendum that will assist in the construction of a Student Center.

The referendum, if passed, will increase student fees to assist in debt reduction and support of the facility.

Dr. J. Charles Jennett, Texas A&M International University President, said the referendum vote is an important opportunity for present and future University students.

"We know that our campus is not yet complete and that the presence of a student center will do much to address that campus completion. By State Statute, Texas universities cannot build Student Centers with State funds. Such construction must be supported by private donations and special student fees imposed by students," Dr. Jennett explained.

"We have been most fortunate that a private donor has provided an anonymous $5 million donation towards the construction of this facility. We are asking that our students join this partnership and support the referendum on Dec. 2. Their support will help to complete this campus for present and future students," he said.

Jennett said the construction of a Student Center and completion of the campus are part of the University's goals for the upcoming Legislature.

"On Nov. 20, our legislative team of Senator Dr. Judith Zaffirini, Representative Henry Cuellar and Representative Tracy King heard a clear consensus during our Legislative Forum for Texas A&M International University. That consensus, articulated by students, faculty and community leaders, is that our campus must be completed," he said.

Jennett outlined the completion the University envisions.

"That completion must include completion of the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library collection, construction of the Student Center, construction of a fine arts facility so badly needed by this campus and the community at large, construction of a Center for Western Hemispheric Trade with tele-conferencing capabilities, construction of an additional laboratory building and infrastructure, development of intramural fields and courts to enhance student quality of life and the continued expansion of programs, including our first doctoral degree," he explained.

Jennett said that Senator Zaffirini and Representative Cuellar met with students about the proposed Student Center and campus completion during a Thanksgiving Festival hosted by the students last week.

"I think the students appreciated the interest expressed by both Senator Dr. Zaffirini and Representative Cuellar about the future of our campus," he noted.

Dr. M. Stephen Brown, Dean of Student Affairs, said the availability of a Student Center is crucial to student and campus life.

"This facility will provide for a student union area, food services, an expanded bookstore, break areas for students, meeting and seminar rooms for student and faculty use, offices for Student Affairs offices and student clubs and associations," Dr. Brown said.

Dr. Brown said that the Center will also provide a campus life focus.

"More importantly, the Student Center will provide a campus life focus that students will be able to tap into on a daily basis. With the addition of our student housing, the Student Center will become a vibrant center of activity seven days a week," Brown explained.

Brown noted that an ad hoc committee including students, faculty , staff and community members has been meeting to develop a consensus on the composition of the new facility.

"We are currently distributing a student-oriented survey that will allow students to voice their opinions on what they would like to see the Student Center look like, the function areas and services that should be contained therein and equipment they envision for the space. We will continue to seek student and community involvement as plans for the Student Center develop," he said.

The projected Student Center would be approximately 80,000 square feet and is expected to cost approximately $15 million. In addition to funding support provided by the student fee assessment, additional donors will be sought.

For additional information, contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326 - 2180.

University office hours are from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

University offices are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday observance Thursday and Friday, Nov. 28 and 29. Offices will reopen Monday, Dec. 2 at 8 a.m.