The Associated Students of the University of Arizona approved funding for two senate initiatives at this week’s meeting. The meeting was called to order at 6:06 p.m. and adjourned at 7 p.m. after a late start because the Agave Room, the senate’s meeting room, was locked. They began the meeting with the sound of the roaring incoming class that was out on the UA Mall doing orientation activities.
The first order of business was funding allocation for the three organizations that requested funding last week: the Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American organization spearheaded by Senator-at-Large Lady Elli, Fostering Success and College of Fine Arts Sen. Jack Haskins' Earth Week celebration.
Elli presented unexpected additional costs in tables and chairs from Facility Management that needed to be covered, which added over $1,000 to the $800 initially presented, bringing the total funding request to about $2,300. Elli added that these were the final things that needed funding for the event.
“We would definitely need your help on this because, again, multiple cultural centers at the moment after [COVID-19] have been severely underfunded,” Elli said. “As well as we've already consulted other offices to pay for other stuff. So we definitely need senate help in funding this.”
Elli also mentioned that this celebration would be the first held at the university since before she was even a student.
Fostering Success also requested funding last week for an end-of-the-year celebration. They requested $4,920 and provided an itemized list of their budget this week — though senators questioned the prices of some of the items, such as $1,500 on catering and $1,500 on door prizes.
“I am just having a hard time believing that food costs are a grand and a half and that door prizes, one needs to be funded at all and two would be that expensive,” Administrative Vice President Kyle Kline said.
The senate brainstormed different ideas so that funding the event would be possible, such as requesting funding from other organizations, not just the senate. They also talked about getting more information regarding the numbers they listed
“I want to give them something, and I do want to support this cause,” Executive Vice President Alexandra Devereux said. “We just have to decide what's the number and what makes sense for us with our $13,000 left.”
The senate did not vote on giving Fostering Success any funding, and instead decided to wait for more information on the price.
The last funding request was for Earth Week’s celebration which was requested by Haskins who sought about $3,000 for catering after he was advised by his funding sources to seek funding from the senate body, “because this was a senate event.”
“My opinion on it is that we're coming to the end of the year, and I don't think many people are going to be coming [to request funding] after this week,” Devereux said. “APIDA and Earth Week are huge senate initiatives we've been working on all year, so I want those to happen.”
After talks about the budget, the senate was ready to vote. The senate voted to fund $2,300 for APIDA with no opposition. The senate also voted to fund $3,000 for the Earth Week’s celebration, bringing the senate’s total spending for this meeting to $5,300.
“I consider that a win in a way,” Devereux said. “We've been allocating money and we have [$20,000], so we should use it.”
RELATED: ASUA Notebook 03/23/22: Fundings for initiative, updates to ASUA framework and addressing the Daily Wildcat’s recent articles
Special election for the student body
The senate body took the initiative to work on the constitution and bylaws this year, and now that the finalized constitution has been approved by the senate, it is now time for the student body to vote on it.
A special election for students to vote on the constitution will be held Tuesday, April 26, and Wednesday, April 27.
Mandatory meal plans
President Noah Vega is meeting with Todd Millay, the executive director of the Arizona Student Unions, to discuss mandatory meal plans.
Vega has been outspoken about his disapproval for mandatory meal plans, but he said it was because of the way it was presented the first time and is now leaning towards signing a letter of approval.
“They've done so much work in how it's being administered to students,” Vega said. “There's a whole process for kids to opt-out and actually look at their finances and see where they're coming from.”
Haskins has already signed a letter of approval, but he says it was conditional.
“The condition being that we have more student representation or more diverse bodies to represent in advising this process as it continues on,” Haskins said, "and that that advisory be there at every step possible.”
Senator-at-Large Jordan-Isaiah Toyos brought up concerns about students being aware that opting-out is an option.
“I wouldn't know how to opt-out if I'm an incoming freshman,” Toyos said. “And that's my only concern, is how they're going to promote this.”
UA Divest will meet with the Arizona Foundation on Monday, April 18, to talk about the university divesting from fossil fuels.
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