NAU student body senate passes resolution opposing ASA's lawsuit against ABOR
The NAU Senate voted 9-2 Thursday to approve a resolution that declares its opposition to a statewide student lobbying group’s lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents.
The Northern Arizona University Senate’s decision puts student government officials across the state at odds with each other. A resolution opposing the use of student fees to pay for litigation failed 6-4 Wednesday in the ASUA Senate.
The Arizona Students’ Association, which aims to represent students at the state Legislature, filed suit last week against the regents, on the heels of the board’s decision to require students to agree to a $2-per-semester fee collected on behalf of ASA prior to payment.
The suit accuses the regents of retaliating against ASA for a political donation the group made last fall.
ASA directors voted by a wide majority in December to pursue legal action against the Board of Regents, if necessary. In February, NAU representatives on ASA Board of Directors proposed halting litigation, but the resolution failed to pass.
NAU student body President Sammy Smart stressed the need for university student leaders to come together regarding ASA.
“This is a very divisive issue, definitely, but I’m hoping that we’ve all worked together so well throughout earlier in the year that we can come together and realize what the organization needs to do to continue to move forward,” Smart said.
Now that the resolution has passed within the NAU Senate, Smart said she would let administration know where the senate and the student body stand. NAU student government leaders hope to meet with ASA directors about moving forward, Smart added.
“Our senators made it very clear that just because they don’t support litigation doesn’t mean they don’t support ASA,” Smart said.
ASA directors Jordan King and Eddie Walneck spoke over the phone at the meeting to “plead their case and encourage the senate to vote against the resolution,” according to Ryan Lee, chair of the Associated Students of NAU senate.
“The concern the whole time was division amongst the students of Arizona,” Lee said. “It was a 6-4 vote [on the UA resolution] and then to have a 9-2 vote at NAU shows there is a lot of division right now considering this lawsuit.”