The Arizona Desert Lamp

ASUA Meeting XVII: “Please, sir, can I have some more?”

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 28 January 2009

Oliver TwistThe Tubac room was filled to the brim, and even with an extra row of seats a number of students were left standing in the back of the room. Was it newfound interest in student government after an inspiring protest? A stand of solidarity behind their elected leaders? Nope — instead, it was yet another example classic, rent-seeking mush.

The offender in this instance is Camp Wildcat. Lead by Casey Edwards (with Lucy Patterson as supporting actor), the acting exhibited schlocky pity-mongering par excellence. At first, their complaints seemed reasonable — they felt that the appropriations process had left them with inadequate time to make their case, and that they had been shortchanged according

But Edwards did not stop with the issue of due process – rule of law is so twentieth eighteenth century! Instead, she mourned the extra hours that club members would have to work at concessions to earn the unallocated funds — “at less than minimum wage.” She pointed emphatically to printed copy of the bylaws, proving nothing with her highlighted sections.

All of this was smoke and mirrors, ignoring the basic question: was there a breach of due process in the appropriating process? Sen. Mighdoll sought more detail — were you at any point interrupted? “No, but . . . I felt that I wasn’t listened to . . . I put hours into this funding request.” Expand, asked Sen. Wallace, on exactly what you want clarified. The petitioners mentioned the use of the phrase “subsidized funding,” and for more explanation on the decision-making process; but in the end, Edwards concluded that, “it seemed [Emphasis added – EML] that the Appropriations Board was unresponsive to my points.”

The Senate, in this instance, does not exist to protect hurt feelings, but to ensure that basic appropriating bylaws are adhered to. As there were no substantive violations, the funding should remain as decided. Thankfully, most of the Senate understood this point — Sen. Baker admirably laid out this fact, saying that, “You know how it goes [referring to the appropriating process] — you’re here because you’re unhappy with how it worked out.” Sen. Fritze similarly opposed granting a rehearing, agreeing that communication was not entirely clear, but that no real violation had occurred.

Other senators exhibited a delightfully trite hedge, vacillating in a manner that would make their counterparts in Washington proud. In so many words, Sens. Ziccarelli, Mighdoll, and Mackenzie expressed the sentiment that, “You know, we love you a lot, and we think that you deserve your full request but . . . (shoulder shrug) it’s out of our hands, y’know?” Sens. Ziccarelli and Mackenzie deserve special kudos, because they saved their equivocations until after the vote, where they both abstained.

In the end, the motion to rehear Camp Wildcat’s pleadings were denied, but two members voted to do so — Sens. Mighdoll and Macchiaroli. At this point, I don’t think that it’s unfair to call Sen. Macchiaroli a bleeding-heart. After seventeen (finishes beer whiskey) of these meetings, I have yet to hear him argue against sending any request back. He seems to have summed up his philosophy in this debate, stating that, “It’s our duty, if they did not feel that communication was clear, to send it back.” That, of course, is not the Senate’s duty, but no matter — feelings have been hurt.

Final Vote: 4-2-2 (Sens. Ellis and Patrick were absent)

Other notes:

-We have a new co-director at the WRC.

-In an aside in his report, Sen. Rubio mentioned that focus groups had formed that would consolidate the various activist groups into a single “Unity Group.” This is kind of a big deal, and excellent news — housing all of the diversity initiatives under one roof makes a good deal of sense.

-Short, uneventful meeting overall, with some sort of event in Phoenix taking up the majority of their time today.

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