The Associated Students of the University of Arizona met this week to hear from clubs and organizations on campus that needed funding for different activities on campus and to address recent Daily Wildcat publications. The meeting was called to order at 6:01 p.m. and adjourned at 7:20 p.m.
The first organization that requested funding was Fostering Success, "a peer-mentoring-based campus community for students that are or have been in foster care, are struggling with homelessness or housing insecurity and those that are considered unaccompanied youth," according to their website.
They requested $5,000 for their annual milestone event, which would cover food, decorations and a venue for the event. Josh Castellitto, the representative of the organization, added that they had no other funding sources, after which Senator-at-Large Lady Elli recommended they also look for other resources on campus that would be able to provide additional support.
College of Fine Arts Sen. Jack Haskins also requested possible funding for this year’s Earth Day events, which he has spearheaded. It has been in the works since November of last year and is a collaborative initiative between the Students for Sustainability, College of Fine Arts, Arizona Student Unions, student government and many other organizations.
“This is an event the whole week that is accessible to the entire student body,” Haskins said. “Everything is free of charge.”
The funding items would be $4,700 for food and service from the Student Union and $5,000 for the Students for Sustainability to purchase merchandise and for the event being held on Earth Day, although Haskins believes he could get the funding elsewhere.
“This is kind of a fail-safe,” Haskins said, “I should know by the next meeting [whether we will get funding], so there could be a possibility to vote on those items.”
The amount of money the senate has to fund projects lies between $13,000 to $14,000 out of the $20,000 they initially had.
Some of the money has been used to fund things like Thanksgiving and winter final meals for students, something which senators are hoping to bring back this spring semester. In fact, College of Nursing Sen. Paige Campbell will be spearheading budgeting and planning efforts.
Another funding request was put in by Elli for the Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American Heritage Month, which will begin in April and contain a week full of activities such as a potluck and games night, an arts and crafts night, a movie night on the Mall and dance performances.
Elli requested $800 from the student senate, as she will also receive funding from other organizations.
“This will also serve as a big help to APIDA in terms of funding because cultural centers like us and others around the student center are underfunded,” Elli said. “This will showcase senate support and sponsorship for diversity, equity and inclusion related events.”
No funding requests were approved.
Constitution and Bylaws
The final amendment to the Constitution was passed with 11 ayes from the senate after a year-long review of the language. One notable change was the removal of the House of Representatives.
“We think that the House of Representatives, as it currently stands, is an extractive body and it essentially requires marginalized student communities on campus to pay for access to student government, which is the opposite of what the house was intended to do,” Administrative Vice President Kyle Kline said.
It will transition into a presidential campus council that will meet with the president bi-weekly to pass legislation more quickly, as opposed to the average four-week process it takes to pass legislation with the House of Representatives.
Other than that, language was changed but there was no other disturbance to the integrity of the Constitution.
Additionally, Kline noted that ASUA bylaws “do not clear current standards” and are also going through an updating process.
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Addressing the Daily Wildcat’s recent articles
Senate President Jordan-Isaiah Toyos addressed the Daily Wildcat directly regarding a discrepancy in the last ASUA Notebook in which the Wildcat attributed an impeachment proceeding to the bylaws and not the constitution. The Daily Wildcat ascribes to truthful and accurate reporting and the correction has been made.
Toyos also called the Daily Wildcat out on lack of coverage during two meetings.
“I was just wondering where you were at those two meetings,” Toyos said. “Because this was stuff that we did go over and that wasn't communicated to the student body, so I was wondering if you have anything to say or why you're not present at those two meetings?”
As an independent newspaper, the Daily Wildcat is not required to publish anything regarding the ASUA meetings but does so out of an obligation to the students. Senate members are more than welcome to reach out to the Daily Wildcat with concerns about coverage.
Toyos then went on a tirade, listing other criticisms he had about the Daily Wildcat and another ASUA article that took an in-depth look at the happenings of the senate, written by Kristijan Barnjak, as well as the Daily Wildcat’s lack of positive coverage of the student senate.
Kline quickly followed up by acknowledging that the Daily Wildcat does have free speech and is an independent organization.
“I think that there may have been feelings hurt by the articles that came out recently,” Kline said. “But it's our job as government representatives to make sure that we're fulfilling our duties to the best of our abilities.”
Barnjak invited Toyos, and all other senators present, to contact him with concerns about factual errors or anything else.
“We are an independent student newspaper,” Barnjak replied. “We do not have to publish anything, and we're more than willing to work with you. Ever since the beginning of last year, we've been excited to work with you.”
The Student Success District will hold a grand opening April 13, with a soft opening beginning April 6.
President Noah Vega talked to the University of Arizona Police Department to enforce jaywalking more with the increase in student pedestrian accidents.
Executive Vice President Alexandra Devereux also announced the unfilled seats for the next student senate. Empty ASUA seats include a senator for the College of Applied Sciences and Technology, the College of Education, the College of Humanities, the College of Nursing, the W.A. Franke Honors College, as well as two Senators-at-Large, one executive vice president chief of staff, two ASUA club advocates and four appropriations board directors.
*This article was updated on March 30 with an attribution correction.
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