The Arizona Desert Lamp

ASUA Senate Meeting, 30 Sep 09: Resolution Rock

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 1 October 2009

For a litany of reasons, this post will be updated throughout the day as more information gets in. We’re waiting until we have a full text versions to comment on the three resolutions that were approved at yesterday’s meeting, but for now you should read the wrap-up of the gun and speech resolutions at the Wildcat. (There was also a resolution indicating support for SAFRA and ASA’s efforts to get it passed.)

At the same time, you should be following my colleague’s live-tweeting of the meetings. Also, why aren’t you following us yet?

UPDATE: Here is the agenda, with all the resolutions attached. All resolutions were composed by Sen. Tyler Quillin, and all were approved unanimously by the Senate.

1. Funding for Coming Out Week Ad. Coming Out Week is coming up, and as a result Pride Alliance is soliciting $500 from the ASUA Senate to pay for the resplendent two-page color ad in the Wildcat. Yet there was a bit of confusion: while the Pride Alliance representative was sure that he had presented an action item (i.e. to actually receive funding), EVP Fritze was sure that it was an informational item (i.e. let’s discuss the thing, then approve funding next week). Further, Pride Alliance was insistent the the Senate would have to approve the funding by Friday if they “wanted the ad to include the logo.”

There’s clearly some confusion here – seeing how Pride Alliance is a division of ASUA, there’s absolutely no way that the ad would go to press with out the logo. EVP Fritze, after the meeting, seemed to think that he might be referring to the Senate’s own logo, an image that the author has never set eyes upon. (Submissions are encouraged in the comments.)

The only way for the funds could be approved in time for the ad’s printing would be to hold a special meeting at some point Thursday, a provision that EVP Fritze said would be discussed later. Meanwhile, Sen. Daniel Wallace – bringing up his old bugbear – wondered why these funds couldn’t be derived from the Executive Operations account. “This is why we approved the amount in the first place.”

This episode led to the first time ever – no, really – that AVP Ziccarelli has been publicly upset. She urged the Senate to approve the funds, reminding them that the Senate has provided funding for the past two years. She also pushed back against the idea of using the ExecOps funds, citing the fact that this event was very much foreseeable.

I suspect that these funds will get approved at some point, but I really do hope that Sen. Wallace’s argument gets more support. It’s not entirely clear who mucked up the classification of the Price Alliance item, but regardless it has happened. This, clearly, was unforeseen, and as a result changed entirely the amount of money that Pride Alliance could expect. The Senate, unfortunately for other branches, is not simply a cookie jar that can be raided on a regular basis like a tenth century English village – because of the mix-up, the Administrative division of the Executive branch should dip into its own cookie jar instead.

2. More like SAFMA. It’s not entirely surprising that ASUA threw itself wholeheartedly behind ASA’s campaign for the SAFRA bill (although I’d be rather surprised if the “details of the bill” cited in the first line amount to anything more than ASA talking points). “Free money for college kids” – who could oppose that? Well, here’s one, if you want the full nitty-gritty. But here’s another reason, via analogy (the source of which Google refuses to reveal, so apologies for that):

Imagine that rather than the “Gang of Six” circus that currently parades around the District, a bill establishing a single-payer health-care system had already passed the house. The bill barely made page A5, and, while a bit of trouble was expected in the Senate, would ultimately pass and be signed by the President at the year’s end.

Crazy, huh? Perhaps it strikes you as a slice of heaven too good for mere mortals; perhaps it gives you chills. But either way, it would be deeply offending if such an important piece of legislation, changing entirely the relation of the federal government to the state governments, to the catallaxy, and to each and every individual, passed without so much as the blinking of an eye. No matter where one stands with respect to single-payer health care, or how much one hates the current system, one would have to respect that there is more than a bit of honest disagreement on the issue.

Yet this is exactly what has happened with SAFRA. The bill spends money on many things, but it’s main purpose is to get rid of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), a corporatist public-private marriage that eerily resembles the relationship supporting employer-based health-care. It’s a bad program, no doubt – but that doesn’t mean that federalizing the whole thing and effectively eliminating private loan sources is the unquestionably right approach. Then there are the issues of what this will do to tuition rates (hint: they aren’t going down anytime soon), state control of universities, and the whole spending issue (if you can honestly assert that allowing the federal government to determine student aid by fiat will reduce costs in the long-term, then I have a nice ’92 Camaro I’d like to sell you)

All of this is a long way of saying that, all the opposing factors aside, it would be nice if the Senate could accept, as it did in the cases of both gun rights and freedom of speech issues, that there is, in fact, a debate. It would also be nice to hear a justification for this clause:

2. More like SAFMA. It’s not entirely surprising that ASUA threw itself wholeheartedly behind ASA’s campaign for the SAFRA bill (although I’d be rather surprised if the “details of the bill” cited in the first line amount to anything more than ASA talking points). “Free money for college kids” – who could oppose that? Well, here’s one, if you want the full nitty-gritty. But here’s another reason, via analogy (the source of which Google refuses to reveal, so apologies for that):

Imagine that rather than the “Gang of Six” circus that currently parades around the District, a bill establishing a single-payer health-care system had already passed the house. The bill barely made page A5, and, while a bit of trouble was expected in the Senate, would ultimately pass and be signed by the President at the year’s end.

Crazy, huh? Perhaps it strikes you as a slice of heaven too good for mere mortals; perhaps it gives you chills. But either way, it would be deeply offending if such an important piece of legislation, changing entirely the relation of the federal government to the state governments, to the catallaxy, and to each and every individual, passed without so much as the blinking of an eye. No matter where one stands with respect to single-payer health care, or how much one hates the current system, one would have to respect that there is more than a bit of honest disagreement on the issue.

Yet this is exactly what has happened with SAFRA. The bill spends money on many things, but it’s main purpose is to get rid of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), a corporatist public-private marriage that eerily resembles the relationship supporting employer-based health-care. It’s a bad program, no doubt – but that doesn’t mean that federalizing the whole thing and effectively eliminating private loan sources is the unquestionably right approach. Then there are the issues of what this will do to tuition rates (hint: they aren’t going down anytime soon), state control of universities, and the whole spending issue (if you can honestly assert that allowing the federal government to determine student aid by fiat will reduce costs in the long-term, then I have a nice ’92 Camaro I’d like to sell you).

All of this is a long way of saying that, all the opposing factors aside, it would be nice if the Senate could accept, as it did in the cases of both gun rights and freedom of speech issues, that there is, in fact, a debate.

The

RECOGNIZING it is the responsibility of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate to support efforts that make the pursuit of higher education possible for all,

Here is what the preamble of the ASUA Constitution actually says (emphasis added):

We the students of The University of Arizona, in the belief that students have the right and the obligation to play a significant role in guiding their university, do hereby establish this Constitution to insure the following: the articulation of student opinions and interests both in the governance of the university and to the community at large; the encouragement of the greatest level of cooperation and communication between students and student organizations; the assurance that students have full access to quality higher education at The University of Arizona; the provision for programs and services of benefit to students; and the encouragement of the highest level of excellence in education at The University of Arizona.

The document says nothing about increasing access “for all,” but says a great deal of increasing the quality of education at the UA – suffice it to say, SAFRA has exactly nothing to do with that.

(Of course, ASUA could help to improve affordability for students at the UA – their actual constituents, rather than “all students” – by fighting against new fees and making current fees optional. This measure, however, was “too restrictive.”)

3. Scatter-shot. The author has read a good number of resolutions in his lifetime, but never has he seen one that expresses hesitation:

THEREFORE the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate expresses hesitation that such a policy could signal the gradual progression towards more liberal gun policy on state campuses through future Arizona State Legislative rulings. Such a progression is not supported by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate and, as a body, is acutely aware of said progression being a possible reality and will remain cognizant of this fact.

The document’s basically an unresolved resolution. It hates guns, but accepts that the actual bill is really quite innocuous, unless if means THE ROAD TO BEARING ARMS. Why such slippery-slopism is acceptable for guns, but not for federal intervention at the state level (ARNE DUNCAN RULES US ALL) remains unanswered. At least the undergraduates have proven themselves more grounded and reasonable than their professors, if only by a hair.

4. “A statement in response to the recent controversies regarding freedom of expression on campus, by means of chalk.” I don’t exactly how true it is to say that the ASUA Senate “is and always will remain steadfast in its support of a person’s freedom of speech and expression” (see here and here), but it was good to see the Senate . . . err, return to that tradition. The conspicuous placement of a chalk piece by Sen. Brooks’ was also very much appreciated.

5. Super-Fee??! In his report, Sen. Atjian II mentioned the fact that the Student Rec Center and the Health Center are teaming up to propose “one, big fee” for the next tuition hearing.

UPDATE: Überkommentor Dave FTW!

ASUA Senate - the A team

Federal Family Education Loan Program, or FFELP
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One Response

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  1. Dave said, on 1 October 2009 at 11:01 am

    Logo:


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