The Arizona Desert Lamp

ASUA Senate Meeting XVI: Sturm und Drang edition

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 22 January 2009

Destruction

The paper is dying! The fees are rising! The school is six feet under! And it’s only the first meeting of the semester. Get your Senate update before it’s liquidated too!

1. Solomon’s Comprise on the Collegiate Readership Program. The Wildcat is dying, according to the new editor-in-chief Nickolas Seibel, who came to introduce himself to the Senate, but mostly to plead with them to please, pretty please, make this evil Collegiate Readership Program go away! Outside of his “philosophical objections to subsidizing the largest news company in the country,” Seibel worries about the impact providing the Daily Star will have on advertising revenue for the Wildcat.

My substantive objections to Mr. Seibel deserve their own posts (because, really, this “corporate subsidy” nonsense has got to stop at some point), but there are a few things I want to point out. One is the absolutely intransigent attitude that the paper has adopted towards the program. Rather than trying to forge some sort of compromising path (which, as you’ll see in a paragraph or two, exists), or seeking reconciliation, Seibel and others have chosen instead to engage in what I can only describe as a temper tantrum. “I just want things to be fair,” Seibel said at one point, passion creeping into his voice. What the Wildcat (through Mr. Seibel) is essentially saying is that even if students decide that they do want the Gannett newspapers at this discounted rate — well, that’s just too bad, because student newspaper interests matter more. Or something.

Yet through the questions and comments of the Senators, it became blindingly obvious what the next step should be: insist that no local papers be provided, but only national ones — be it USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or what have you. Of course, this does require students to not support the Star in the surveys, and it does require them to not pick up the Star from the stands.

I like this path, partly because it provides a path that can provide information and partly appease the “corporate-subsidy-BOO-evil-Gannett” crowd. Yet the real reason I’ve fallen for this approach is because it provides a clear litmus test of the Program’s intentions. If the Program is willing to provide only national papers, then it’s hard to imply evil intentions (outside of the intent to get college kids hooked on newspapers, which really isn’t the worst thing). Yet if the Program refuses to participate without a local paper, then it’s clear that they’re intent on a short-term incursion into the local advertising market, and should be opposed at all costs.

2. Incentives for Dropping. The Undergraduate Council (UGC) is back with some follow-up from their previous presentation. It looks like that, in the near future, students will be charged $25 for each class that they drop after the first week of class. While it’s unclear exactly how many more seats will become “available” with this process (the better measure is the degree to which the number of unoccupied seats is reduced), all funds will go back into providing more seats. Outside of Sen. Jason Mighdoll, who offered an emotional stand against more fees and unfair punishments on students, most of the Senate seemed in favor of such a proposal — a good sign.

However, as the presenting professor made clear, the fee is not their to raise revenue. Nor should this fee be punitive, as Sens. Baker and Mackenzie seemed to imply. The goal here isn’t to punish kids for dropping classes late, but to be as transparent as possible as to the costs of that late drop. Dropping classes late ultimately leads to unfilled seats, which is a dead-weight cost for the university. Of course, the $25 charge is fairly arbitrary, but that’s what happens when you try to determine from the top-down, rather than from the bottom-up.

3. Budget Blues. President Bruce gave a lengthy presentation on the state of the budget, none of which really led me to shift from my earlier take on the matter. I would, however, point out that the obvious agitation in Bruce’s presentation unfortunately coalesces with the morbid black theme of the demonstrations, the “death.” I’m (very oddly) reminded of the response in the wake of 9/11 — more specifically, the lack of rationality in many of those responses. Obviously, it’s hard to think straight after such a catastrophic event — but that’s why it’s all the more important to do so! It is the most perilous times that call for the keenest thought. It also goes without saying that this is no 9/11.

So when President Bruce is flapping his hands back and forth, claiming that “we can hardly guess how many people will be cut . . .”, my immediate response is — Well, start guessing! After all, who knows how long we have our administrative staff for. Start crunching numbers, start making projects, start providing alternatives. Right now, though, there’s this palpable sense of unrestrained fear, a simple “No” mouthed on a bone-white face. If the UA doesn’t want to get absolutely slammed on this, it’d better drop the all-black get-up and start investing in pocket protectors.

Also, while Gannett got bashed earlier, Bruce twice mentioned Raytheon by name in praise of its support for the UA. Boo, news media; hooray, military-industrial complex! These are strange times, indeed.

Addenda:

Jason Kazares must be slightly fed up with ASUA, because I’m slightly fed with having to hear about the many meetings that have been scheduled with him. Cameras got no mention tonight, nor did any other safety initiatives — instead, we’ll have the usual Student Safety Fair, before Spring Break.

ASUA hired a new web development person. Even President Bruce agreed that, “As we’ve all seen, we need some web help.”

According to Sen. Baker, the Senate is bringing back the “Roll with a Senator” program, which combines some combination of golf-carts, petitions, and meet-and-greet. I’m not entirely sure what this program entails, but I’m tickled by the idea of our prestigious student government, 40 in one hand and spliff in the other, cruising around to this ditty while discussing student government policy.

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2 Responses

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  1. Emily Fritze said, on 22 January 2009 at 4:46 pm

    “Jason Kazares must be slightly fed up with ASUA, because I’m slightly fed with having to hear about the many meetings that have been scheduled with him”
    ^ hahahaha I had a discussion with someone about this the other day.

  2. […] ‘Roll with a Senator’ sounds a lot cooler than it actually is. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Readership […]


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