The new Gates Fate Bill publicly opposes changes proposed by the College Station Police Chief to the Northgate District.
On September 21, at the final meeting of the 75th session of the Texas A&M Student Senate, the Gates Destiny Bill was introduced by Off-Campus Caucus Senator Karime Ramos and Community Relations Chair Jessica Williams. The bill was primarily drafted by Ramos and sponsored by Williams and off-campus caucus Senator Andrew Applewhite.
According to the bill, College Station Police Chief Billy Couch had met with College Station City Council in August, primarily to discuss security issues in the Northgate district. These concerns included, but were not limited to: the high number of calls to emergency medical services, crime, police dispatches and arrests.
Couch proposed an ordinance that would include several changes to the Northgate district. The ordinance proposed requiring cameras in bars, removing outdoor speakers, asking patrons for weapons upon entry and changing the last call from 2 a.m. to 12 p.m.
According to The Fate of the Gates Bill, Couch also proposed environmental changes to Northgate, including limiting the number of bars in the district, rezoning and increased planning in the district, temporary road closures, installing speed bumps and the construction of a wall along University Drive. .
After learning about the controversial proposed changes to Northgate, Ramos said she felt encouraged to speak out on behalf of all students through this legislation.
Although he is not a member of the community relations committee, Ramos took the initiative to create the bill.
“It’s a bit outside of what I usually work on, but since I’m an off-campus caucus leader, it’s an off-campus issue,” Ramos said.
The Fate of the Gates Bill opposes almost all of the proposed changes to Northgate, in particular changing the last call time and limiting the number of bars in the district.
“The bill defends the integrity of the Northgate district because many students and small businesses do not want it changed and rezoned. [It] argues against change but also for security,” Ramos said.
However, Ramos clarified that he is not against all of the suggested safety measures, such as completing unfinished sidewalks and additional lighted sidewalks.
“We’re not against security, we’re just against rezoning,” Ramos said.
The bill also calls for College Station City Council to consider other safety improvements, such as safe driving and safe word programs.
“The community relations committee is responsible for anything that is more than the university and less than the state,” Williams said.
Williams said it is the responsibility of the committee to advocate on behalf of students within the community and local government.
“Our bill formalizes student views on Northgate and the kind of reforms we think are needed for safety,” Williams said.
Williams said having an official document is essential when student government leaders, especially the student body president, meet with city officials to discuss student interests.
The Fate of the Gates bill was defeated by the committee on September 28 and will be read at the next meeting of the Student Senate on Wednesday, October 5. Once read, it will be subject to a period of debate which would allow for further amendments. . After the debate period, senators will vote whether or not to pass the bill.
“Given the interest and commentary on this bill, I think it has a very good chance of passing it,” Williams said.