Thursday, March 23, 2023

The end of an era: the 2021-22 year of ASUA

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona have completed their year with their final meeting on Wednesday, April 27. From bringing students free Thanksgiving meals to canceling its annual spring fling for the third year in a row and impeaching a senator, ASUA marked its first individual year back since the pandemic began with its ups and downs. Here are some highlights from UA’s graduate student governing body from the 2021-22 academic year:

UAZ disinvestment resolution

One of the first things this year’s Senate class did was to pass the UAZ divestiture resolution on September 8, 2021. The unanimously passed resolution was support for UAZ Divest’s mission, calling on the university and the UA Foundation to completely withdraw funding from the fossil fuel industry. Support the proposal to include student voices by 2025, as well as the UA Foundation’s investments.

ASUA President Noah Vega and Administrative Vice President Kyle Kline met with UAZ Divest the following month, after which Vega explained, “[the fossil fuel companies] There’s already a lot of money invested in the UA, and the Arizona Foundation realizes it would be a financial mistake to turn it away.”

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At the end of the fall semester, Kline and Vega reunited with the UA Foundation for an update. The UA Foundation said there was no way they could divest until 2029 and could not set the original hard date asked by UAZ Dive as they would lose $20 million. He also told Kline that he did not intend to divest from fossil fuels.

constitution referendum

Kline was the primary author of the ASUA Constitution Referendum, a simplified version of the old constitution. The new constitution 2019-20 passed by the Senate set to eliminate and simplify the House of Representatives, making it easier to navigate. You can read more about the changes in the constitution Daily Wildcat Website.

The referendum was passed by the Senate, which sent it to a special election for students by a simple majority vote. The elections were held on April 27-28, but the results have not been made available on their website or social media pages.

Senate Initiative

Each year the ASUA Senate class puts in $20,000 for a major initiative to help the student population. The first proposed Senate initiative was a 24-hour community study space following a change in library hours due to COVID-19. Collectively, they heard many students express their frustration with these changes and the lack of 24-hour study space on campus.

According to ASUA Executive Vice President Eli Devereaux, the Senate hit a roadblock when they learned that “for the main library to be open 24/7, the facility would need to receive an additional $1 million in funding annually.” Vega met with UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins to see if he could help. Robbins expressed that he would be interested in finding funding for it.

related: Reform policy to ban student organizations from tabling, students seeking long-lasting change

As part of their initiative, the Senate allocated $5,000 of its budget to the Arizona student unions, which would directly fund free, grab-and-go Thanksgiving meals for food insecure students or students who couldn’t go home for the holidays. Is.

Until the January 26 meeting, no further initiatives had been decided, leading to tensions between senators and officials. There were two proposed initiatives: a community garden and the renovation of their ASUA office.

At the February 2 meeting, another initiative was proposed for campus thrift stores that would hold students’ vintage items from the previous year during the fall semester. However, things would have to be stored over the summer, which is why Kline shot the idea down, describing it as “impossible” due to the cost of storage.

The renovation of the ASUA office was eventually decided upon.

“‘Renovation’ is honestly the wrong word for it,” said College of Pharmacy Senator Gianna Collins.

personnel complications

The Senate began the year with vacancies in the College of Medicine, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Humanities and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health senator positions.

In October, Devereux appointed four senators to these positions, explaining that, historically, positions at some of these colleges were not filled and were not well represented at ASUA.

It was later found by Daily Wildcat There is no Senate seat for the College of Veterinary Medicine, news reporter Kristijn Barnjak said in an article titled “A Weak Year for Student Government”. Barnjak reported, “Sylvester Gaskin, associate dean of students for student governance and programs, confirmed wildcat That the senator of the College of Veterinary Medicine was hired in error, and that no seats exist for the college. [Anne] Zlato is also a graduate student, while ASUA is a graduate student government.”

Senate seats were never filled in the colleges of Medicine, Optical Sciences and Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Bernjack also found that five senators had missed a quarter or more of ASUA meetings at the time the article was published. The absence of the Senate was never initially available to the public, even when asked by Barnjak. Devereaux later issued absenteeism at the March 16 meeting.

At a March 13 meeting on Senator Louise Lelescu for the College of Science, eight votes were in favour, three against and two abstain. The impeachment was automatic, brought about by five unexplained absences. It was announced that the ASUA Supreme Court had confirmed impeachment at its April 20 meeting.

Follow ASUA on Twitter @ASUAToday And Instagram @ASUA_Senate for updates about next Senate class and fall semester.

Follow Maggie Rockwell Twitter

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