ASUA Notebook: ASUA formally declares support for ASA at Senate meeting
Despite the recent tumult surrounding the Arizona Students’ Association, the UA’s undergraduate student government formally declared its support for the student-funded lobbying group.
The Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate passed a resolution on Wednesday night declaring its support for ASA, a nonpartisan organization funded through student fee money collected at the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.
ASA’s board of directors is composed of student representatives from the UA and NAU, and included representatives from ASU up until late September, when they resigned from the board over allegations of misspending. ASU’s Tempe Undergraduate Student Government Senate recommended severing its formal ties to ASA in late October.
Sen. Vinson Liu said he drafted the resolution to recognize ASA’s accomplishments and put forth the ASUA Senate’s support for the organization, despite its problems.
The resolution says the Senate supports ASA’s mission and that the Senate will continue to do so until it finds “reasonable doubt” that ASA is no longer an “efficient organization for the student body.”
Senators revised the resolution to clarify some points made in Liu’s draft. Sen. Valerie Hanna described some practices that she would like to see changed within ASA, such as requiring a vote by the board before providing funds to organizations. Hanna said ASA already supported Proposition 204 — a failed initiative that would have extended a state sales tax to provide more education funding — before ASA voted to donate $20,000 for it.
Hanna also said students need to see exactly where their student fees are going within ASA in order to prevent future conflict. A student had come to her, Hanna said, to say he disagreed with ASA’s statement that the organization represents students’ interests, because he didn’t support Prop 204.
Hanna said that if 65 percent of Arizona rejected Prop 204, then there must be UA students who didn’t vote for it as well, and that ASA should have considered that possibility.
Sen. Logan Bilby suggested that the Senate wait to approve the resolution until senators see changes within ASA, given the negative attention it has received for the accusations of misspending student fee money, but the resolution passed by a 7-3 vote.
Child care center seeks support
The dean of the College of Education asked the ASUA Senate to consider supporting an early childhood care center on campus.
Ronald Marx, the dean of the College of Education, attended Wednesday’s meeting to ask senators to consider a resolution in support of a daycare center at the UA. He said the UA is the only school in the Pac-12 without a daycare and that it could host children from infancy to preschool age.
According to Marx, families with children who use the center would have to pay tuition of about $9,000. Marx asked the Senate to discuss possible subsidies that could be used to help students with children, a model he said has been seen at other universities with childcare centers.
Library offers online reservation system for study rooms
Students can now reserve library study rooms online. The Library Services’ presentation during the ASUA Senate’s meeting described the library’s online reservation system, in addition to a 24-hour live chat service for students called “Ask a Librarian.” Students can also check out equipment like iPads and MacBooks online, though some items are only available for short periods of time due to limited resources.
The library will be open for 24 hours every day from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. It will close Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. After 9 p.m., students will need to use their CatCards to access the building. The changes were made in response to student input, according to the presentation.
Electronic books are already available through the library, but the library is now working with the UofA Bookstore to provide electronic books for courses. The library is measuring how much money it is saving students by looking at which books are used and how frequently.
Databases will be incorporated into D2L for students to use as research resources, but instructors will have the opportunity to opt out of including a database if they do not feel it would benefit their classes.
Bilby reported that the Arizona Health Sciences Center campus just instituted a tobacco-free policy, though President Ann Weaver Hart still needs to approve it. Bilby said he believes the change should be applied to the whole campus.
North End Zone Project construction is using fields north of Arizona Stadium equipment, Sen. Danielle Novelly reported. The fields belong to the Student Recreation Center, but there has been discussion about the athletic department taking the fields permanently, Novelly said. She would advocate to keep the fields under the control of the Rec Center, she said.
Novelly also reported that the parking lot on the east side of the Rec will be used as a regulation-size soccer field.
Administrative vice president report
Pride Alliance is holding transgender awareness week next week, reported Administrative Vice President Paige Sager. She also said that Safe Ride broke its record for having the most students on Halloween.