The Arizona Desert Lamp

“3 swords, 3 helmets, 2 shoes. Will all of these be in the Tornado?” — ASUA Meeting 7

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 9 October 2008

So of course, the main story from yesterday’s ASUA meeting was the painfully vapid dispute over expenses for ASUA’s Homecoming float, produced by the Freshman Class Council. And while the issue in of itself is “full of sound and fury/signifying nothing,” it helps to illustrate some basic principles of how ASUA actually operates.

First, though, a brief summary of the issue. Traditionally, the FCC has traditionally been assigned the role of designing the ASUA float for the homecoming parade, which  manages to teach the essential skills of leadership and exterior design. The FCC presents the budget for the float before the ASUA Senate, who then decide how much to ultimately allocate. This year, the FCC requested $1200 for the float, and “only” received $850. Here’s what we learned:

1. The Ruling Class: There is no better display of the incestuousness of ASUA than the freshman class council. Six out of the ten sitting Senators are FCC alumni. VPs Anderson and Patel were both members as well. President Tommy Bruce waxed nostalgic about his FCC presentation, so many years ago. The Elections Commissioner who composed last year’s draconian Election Code, Amy Adamcin, is the current FCC director.

Folks, the revolving door doesn’t simply apply to the government in Washington; it also happens right here in Tucson. This is why the motto of “YOUR student government” rings so falsely; it is in fact the government of a striving pseudo-ruling class, colluding for the  purpose of padding resumes and allocating funds, many of which go right back to these selfsame individuals.

2. Porkies! In his seminal anti-ASUA piece, Connor Mendenhall noted that, “Many students interested in future political careers are involved in ASUA. Unfortunately, our student government sends them a terrible message: government is about creating programs and allocating other people’s money.” And while ASUA cements these principals, you can see it in foetus  as the FCC prepares to dole out YOUR student money for a pair of fog machines, and allocates $275 of your student dollars for T-shirts. . . for the FCC itself.

There were some paeans given to fiscal responsibility, and it should be noted that the Senate did force the funding. But there were also some very bad ideas that need to be highlighted. Primary among these was the defense of a $1,000 spending cap, offered by Sen. MacKenzie: “Whatever is not spent, will be given back. . . . Don’t be afraid to give them more money.” This argument has actually been used verbatim by earmark kings and queens in the Beltway, who claim that, “That amount is the money authorized, not the money spent.” This naturally begs the question — where does the other money go? Contra MacKenzie, I don’t this money will “just come back”, and certain expenses will “arise” (another point brought up by the Senate), such as brand name clothing or paint. Furthermore, suppose the FCC goes hog-wild with the rest of the funds. What then? “Shame on you?” It’s a little late at that point.

(The title is in reference to the sickly-sweet nickname for FCC members. Your author humbly offers this nickname as an alternative.)

3. Journalism 101. I’ve tried to avoid discussing issues involving the Wildcat, for reasons both personal and aesthetic. However, the paper’s article on the ASUA meeting offers a nice example of how not to write objectively:

After more disagreement, Sen. Emily Fritze entered the conversation as the voice of reason.

4. Abolish the FCC? I know anarchism is almost becoming clichè (that’s an odd phrase to write), but not only is it more feasible than a complete ASUA shutdown, it will probably result in a lot more instantaneous good. This is the training ground for the kind of ASUA members we’ve had; this is why UA doesn’t see a whole lot of variety in ASUA representation. Eliminating the FCC, in my humble opinion, would lead to a far greater variety of Senate and executive candidates — because no one would get a bump from being on the ASUA fast-track, the nominees would come from all sorts of different places; more importantly, the winners would as well.

It’s also worth considering the ostensible reason for the FCC’s existence: to represent the freshman class. But wait — ASUA represents the entire student body. Why isn’t there, say, a Sophomore Class Council? One may argue that freshman aren’t able to walk onto the University as Senate members, and thus are denied representation. Yet if being condescended to by overly nostalgic higher-ups (VP Anderson’s fawning was particularly grating) and designing floats counts as “representation”, perhaps it’s time for an (freshman) class uprising.

-The Notehall resolution passed, declaring that: “RESOLVED: ASUA supports NoteHall.” This is, in short, a statement of sentiment, kind of like the absurd resolutions Congress will pass from time to time condemning so and so or praising the Heroic Six-Pack of the week. This clearly wasn’t the subsidy that I feared, but I still question the motive behind it. But hey, it’s their business, and I wish them the best of luck, even with the anchor of the ASUA logo tied around their neck.

–News Flash: Apparently the “B” in LGBTQA stands for “bi-affectionate”, not bisexual. If you want pointers on how to turn a legitimate social movement into a parody of itself, this is a good place to start.

– UA Votes is still waiting on numbers, but it sounds like it’ll be around 4,000. The “Education Phase” is coming up next, so this blog will be on the lookout for that.


3 Responses

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  1. FCC Alum said, on 12 October 2008 at 2:45 am

    There use to be class councils for the Sophomore, Junior, and Senior classes. They were abolished because they hazed the Freshman Class Council.

    And FCC doesn’t exactly breed new members of ASUA, as it has been claimed so many times here and elsewhere. Every year there are 40-50 members of FCC…and the majority of them never do anything in ASUA again. Many of them go into RHA, Greek Life, Athletics, club leaders, or other areas of campus.

    On that same note, the LARGE majority of people in ASUA have never been involved in FCC. For the 2008-2009 school year, ONLY 32 out of around 117 members of ASUA have ever been members of FCC. And to my own personal knowledge, there is only one member of ASUA who was on the Sophomore Class Council (but this person was never in FCC) before it was abolished due to hazing issues.

    If FCC was truly as incestuous as you claim, then the numbers of former FCC members currently in ASUA would be higher. Granted, there are certain areas that have more former FCC members than others, such as the Executive Branch (Club Advocates and Appropriations Board Directors)…but I personally think that this specific example has more to do with the EVP herself and her personal selection preferences than with ASUA as a whole.

  2. J said, on 13 October 2008 at 12:44 pm

    The Sophomore class council equivalent is called Sophos, and the Junior called Chain Gang. They each perform specific tasks along the lines of representing ASUA. These names are misleading, however, and should be consistent across all classes.

  3. FCC Alum said, on 15 October 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Sophos, Chain Gang and the like have absolutely NOTHING to do with ASUA other than the simple fact that they are CLUBS just like any other club.

    They are honoraries and are NOT part of ASUA.

    There are actually 8 class honoraries (NOT councils)

    Preludes, Spires, Chimes, and Mortarboard (originally female only, now co-ed)
    Primus, Sophos, Chain Gang, and Bobcats (originally male only, now co-ed)

    Again, they have absolutely NOTHING to do with ASUA and, therefore, are not the equivalent to a class council of any sort (especially since there are two for each class)

    Another reason why they’re not part of ASUA? They have a HUGE reputation as drinking clubs (CG initiation anyone?! “Never been more drunk in my life”…along with CG and Bobcats lingo like “DB” – Drinking Buddy). There mere fact that alcohol use, legal or not, is involved with these organizations automatically means that they are not associated with ASUA outside of the club recognition umbrella and are NOT class councils. In fact, anything where you can sleep with the president to become a member tends to not be considered part of ASUA.

    They are honoraries
    and nothing more.
    They do community service, party together, etc.

    The only real decisions they make (other than the senior honoraries’ involvement in Homecoming) are picking the next set of students for their respective honorary.

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