The Arizona Desert Lamp

Sometimes, too much paperwork is a good thing.

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 4 November 2009

Drowning In PaperWe might not be able to get the names of the Porkies (we’ll have to find other means for better quantifying the “friend endowment” effect), but thanks to the work of Board Chair Matthew Totlis, there’s plenty of information on how your Student Services Fee is serving you!

The twenty documents that follow below are divided into three parts. Most of them pertain to program alteration requests (PARs – welcome to Bureaucracy). These are submitted by fee-receiving divisions that wish to make changes to how that money is spent – reallocating to hire part-time staffers, transferring money to reflect changes in administrative responsibility, and so on. Included with these requests are the responses from the Board, expressing whether or not they support the alteration. (Dr. Melissa Vito, though, has the ultimate authority – it is the SSF Advisory Board.)

Insight into how these decisions were reached can be found in the “Advising Documents” section. These are effectively memos from the Board expressing their opinions on certain issues, and they date back to April 2009.

Finally, there’s more information on the Freshman Fee, including membership rolls,

There’s much more to say about these, but it’s worth including this bit from Mr. Totlis’ email:

For future years, the board will have 2-3 Fall meetings and 3 Spring so that ALL BOARD BUSINESS CAN BE OPEN. Because I sat the board so late this year I could not have had them trained in Parlipro [parliamentary procedure – EML] quick enough to effectively deliberate on the 3 pars we have seen in this session.

Good stuff. Even though the “age of transparency” may already be fading at ASUA, it’s good to see that the SSFAB is moving towards more genuine openness.

Program Alteration Requests (PARs) and Responses

PAR 10.001 DRC

RE PAR 10.001 DRC

PAR 10.002 DOS

RE PAR 10.002 DOS

PAR 10.003 DOS Heritage Months

RE PAR 10.003 Heritage Months

PAR 10.004 HPPS

RE PAR 10.004 CAPS to HPPS

PAR 10.005 WRC Program Director

RE PAR 10.005 WRC Director

PAR 10.005b WRC Program Director

RE PAR 10.005b WRC Director

Advising Memos from the SSFAB

Advice 9.001 Savvy Student

Advice 9.002 Allocations FY10

Advice 9.003 (PAR 10.001 DRC and PAR 10.002 DOS)

Advice 10.001 (PAR 10.003 and 10.004)

Advice 10.002 WRC

Freshman Fee

Freshman Fee Funding Request Form

Freshman Fee Committee Member Directory, 2009-10

Freshman Fee Funds, 2009-10

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Diversity centers remain separate and equal

Posted in Campus, Politics, UA Transformation Plan by Evan Lisull on 17 June 2009

Much the impetus behind the proposed Unity Center, as CSIL’s Michelle Perez readily admits, was to realize cost savings in the form of administrative consolidation. Diversity groups argued that the proposal would unduly centralize the groups, drowning out their independent voices. Unfortunately for both groups, this consolidation apparently already exists:

The directors of the cultural centers either refused to comment on the situation or referred the Daily Wildcat to speak with Kendal Washington White, director of Multicultural Affairs and Student Success.

These centers are so fiercely independent, so full of administrative bloat, that they direct all media contact to the same official, an official that serves directly under the charge of Student Affairs VP Melissa Vito. In truth, this proposal was not as radical as either side’s proponents made it out to be – the savings certainly were not in the millions, and not “all signs of life have been muted.” Yet it was a reform; and just as he did in reneging on his only specified cuts, President Shelton has deferred the opportunity to actual make serious changes. After all, there no doubt was a budget hearing to get to in Phoenix.

Far more important in this debate are the principles underlying it – not the lack of principles from the UA administration (which backed down the moment controversy even began), but the principles driving the opposition to the Unity Center. This quote in particular stood out:

[Carlos Rematoza] said that some important elements of the new center would be whether or not individual groups could maintain their own identities and be able to accommodate their special needs.

“Space is definitely going to be important,” Retamoza said. “Each of the centers have a lot their own programs which are very important to their students. If we’re all in one space it will be difficult for each center to do something particularly for their students.”

For most of this country’s history, minority groups have agitated on behalf of integration – the ability to act in civil society with the privileges accorded to others, to be treated equally – not separately – under the law. Dr. King and his civil dissidents did not fight for higher standards of “Colored Fountains” – they fought to end the practice entirely. Women’s rights groups (well, most of them) agitated on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment. Gay rights’ groups advocate for being able to serve openly in the military (a call that President Obama has found almost as risible as the idea of marijuana legalization).

The advocates for these Centers, however, have taken the opposite tack. They don’t want to be integrated into the broader community, to sit at the proverbial (and possibly literal) table with other groups – they want “space.” Integration of cultural centers is “racist“; segregation of such centers encourages diversity.

If one is seriously concerned about the “silencing of voices” and homogenization of diverse points of view, perhaps they might start their crusade with the extant LGBT Center – which assumes, of course, that only one voice needs exist for the exchangeable gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender identities. Then one might turn the Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs Center, which manages to lump together Puerto-Rican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Haitian-Americans, Venezuelan-Americans, Argentinian-Americans, among many other groups. Don’t even try getting into Asian-Pacific American Student Affairs – an organization covering groups from literally half the globe. Why these groups are comfortable under the same roof, while others are not – well, that’s for them to know, and good luck finding out.

As these various Centers insist on balkanization, ASUA has launched its own diversity initiative – the “Integrating Diversity Council.” As Roget will tell you, “integrate” is a synonym for “unify” and “unite”- exactly what Shelton and Vito’s proposal intended to do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long from integration to turn into indoctrination:

The Integrating Diversity Council is a small body of students from various marginalized associations on campus asked to represent their respective constituents. This body of students is responsible for bringing awareness to social justice issues on the university campus . . .

Never has it been considered – not by ASUA, not by Student Affairs, not by any of the Centers themselves – that this insistence on social justice is itself a form of control. Is it so much to ask that “cultural centers” be concerned with, y’know, culture – John Coltrane, say, or David Wojnarowicz – rather than bastardized liberation theology? While crying that an administrative move to a building is somehow “silencing the student voice,” conveniently forgotten is the fact that those opposing to the principle of redistributive justice have already been effective silenced. Potemkin diversity – which looks good on pamphlets – replaces intellectual diversity.

Certainly, Shelton’s move was about money. But the counter-move, led by the Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs Center, is a distinctly segregationist one – you stay out of our Center, and we’ll stay out of yours.