Frustrations over senate initiatives and responsibilities grew during this week’s Associated Students of the University of Arizona meeting, the university’s undergraduate student governing body. The meeting was called to order at 6:02 p.m. and was adjourned at 7:26 p.m. on Jan. 26.
Senators first unanimously passed a motion to fund three tables for the Campus Pantry Benefit Dinner on Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the North Ballroom. Each table costs $600 and would go to faculty and volunteers. Senators also tabled a motion to vote on whether they should buy an extra table for senators interested in attending.
After that, over half of the meeting was spent talking about initiatives. Senators went back and forth with each other on how to utilize their funds.
“I don't want us to settle on two initiatives that we’re all not happy about,” said Lady Dorothy Elli, an at-large senator. “I would rather us take time, and then decide when we have set details, set initiatives that we really like or that the majority of us at least like instead of deciding on things that none of us are actually set on doing.”
A vote for Elli’s garden initiative was struck down by a majority vote with eight noes and five yeses. It was one of the two initiatives senators have been discussing for the past few weeks, the second being a renovation of the ASUA space.
Senator-at-large Jordan-Isaiah Toyos was adamant about passing an initiative before the end of the meeting and also brought up an issue with the senator's lack of participation and bringing initiative ideas to the table.
“I don’t hear anyone else coming up with concrete ideas, and it’s just going to be a repetitive cycle,” Toyos said. “If we keep pushing it back, it's going to be the same people speaking again and again.”
Elli urged the senators to think about possible new initiatives and to bring their ideas to the next meeting with logistical backing.
“I would urge everyone to go back to the platforms that you ran on to see how those funds can help those platforms and how you could help those folks,” ASUA advisor Sylvester Gaskin said. “It's easier to justify not spending it and to wait rather than to justify having to waste it.”
A motion was made to table a discussion of the ASUA room renovation indefinitely until Facilities Management could get a quote on how much renovating the space would cost, which will take four to eight weeks. The vote passed with nine yeses and one opposing vote from Toyos.
“We don't want to be a senate class that doesn't do anything or leave a mark,” Toyos remarked. “We were elected to get stuff done for students and, again, it's been five months.”
According to Executive Vice President Alexandra Devereux, only five senators showed up to Wednesday’s open house on the UA Mall, despite more senators having been signed up.
“Step up. Show students that you're there for them and actually trying to make a difference,” President Noah Vega said. “Sitting around, not actually showing up for students every single day is honestly just disappointing.”
Vega added that he’s taken on responsibilities of other members, and that he cannot trust delegating to other senators.
“If you guys aren’t showing up, [your stipend] is going to be hit and I won't have an issue with that,” Vega said. “And also just know that you're not actually living up to helping students, but you're just doing it for a reason of self-interest.”
Vega is still in talks with the Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee over a tuition increase for non-Arizona residents. Vega is pushing to lower the increase to 4% instead of the 6% increase that the board agreed on.
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