Office of the Dean of Students          

History of Student Government

The University of Texas at Austin was established in 1883, but it was not until January 10, 1901, that a mass meeting of the student body was called. At that meeting a resolution called for the creation of a constitution and a set of by-laws for governance of the student body. The documents were published in The Texan on February 26, 1901.  Initially, the idea met with some confusion, but after encouragement from Academic Dean David Houston students ratified the constitution and bylaws on May 24, 1902.  This ratification established Student Government as the "official voice of UT students."

The following academic year (1902-1903), W.T. Bartholomew was elected as the first president of the Students' Association. Since then, student administrations have worked annually to represent student issues and provide student services.

During 1977 with activism and apathy rampant, a student government ticket of J.Adkins/F.Slyfield ran on a promise to 'avoid all issues.'  The following year the UT student body voted to abolish the Students' Association altogether.

The Students' Association reputation among students has waffled numerous times over the years and during the years of abolishment, a movement was held to re-establish the organization.  By another vote of the UT student body in 1982, Students' Association returned to campus and elected Paul Begala as its President. In 1984, as the Students' Association continued work on its organizational structure, it voted to create three branches, Executive (Officers), Legislative (Student Senate) and Judicial (Election Supervisory Board and Judicial Commission).

In 1987, Students' Association renamed its Legislative Branch from the Student Senate to Student Assembly and changed the Student Assembly members' titles from Senators to Representatives.  In addition, SA added the Cabinet of College Councils Chair to the Executive Branch.  In 1992, all of those changes were approved by the student body with a new constitution.  Approval from the UT System Board of Regents was granted later that year.

In 1995, the name of Students' Association was changed to Student Government. A potential add would be the changes in numbers of elected representatives over the years and/or agencies.

All UT students are members of the Student Government.  Student Government's mission is to represent the interests of students and increase student decision-making power; to improve campus life through the creation and continuation of viable and effective student services; to preserve and protect the traditions and legends of UT Austin; and to support students and student organizations in their academic and community endeavors.

See a list of Presidents and Vice Presidents (1902 - present)

List of Executive Boards 1987-1988 to present