ASUAF Recap, February 21 – Senate debates bill to address waning interest in student government






Matt Mertes / Sun Star

Present: Ivik Henry, Joseph Degraft-Emanfu, Benjamin Anderson-Agimuk, Rose Bright, Jacob Sears, Cordero Reid, Sabrina Martin, Diane Murph

Absent: Brandon Blum, Ryan Cain

Excused: Johnathan Quinones, Zachary White

This week, Senator Cordero Reid proposed a directive that would have the Public Relations Director and committee come up with a plan to outline and restructure their attempts at rallying support and participation of students in ASUAF and student governance in general.

“I’ve been holding onto this one for a while, this is sort of my baby,” Reid said. “The aim of this bill is not to punish anyone.”

More could be done to improve senate relations with the students, according to Reid. The directive would add a timetable for the PR director and committee to come up with a new plan and have it approved by the Executive committee by the April 17 meeting of ASUAF. Although Reid was adamant that this proposal was not designed to target or punish any one person or group, many senators had concerns with it. One senator in particular had a strong reaction to this piece of legislation.

“I think this directive is a total dick move and incredibly douchey and I would like to say that on record.” Senator Sabrina Martin said.

Students don’t care about ASUAF or student government at all, according to Martin. She has served on the public relations committee for two years. In Martin’s experience it is difficult to get the student body interested in their government. The job of PR director and committee is increasingly tough because students feel as though ASUAF is a joke, Martin said.

“It’s incredibly difficult for [PR director] to connect with a student population that doesn’t care about its government,” Martin said.

It would be unfair to hold the PR director and committee accountable for the students lackadaisical attitude of the student body according to Martin.

There should be a coherent plan moving forward, according to Reid, and ASUAF should be more present in the minds of students. This directive was set up to try and get some accountability for this issue, he said.

“It puts on record that we are willing to change our ways,” Reid said. “To develop something on paper and say this was the point that ASUAF decided to reach out to its constituents.”

The executive committee described the initiative as “ill-conceived.” Vice President Colby Freel voiced concern on behalf of the executive committee that this directive was to harsh. He and the committee felt that the directive in question was shouldering too much blame on the PR director and committee for failing at inciting student interest.

“The problem is with the association,” Freel said, “I think the directive brings some of those problems to the administration, but that’s not to say there has been any negligence or under performance by the Public Relations office.”

The directive was voted down by a majority. The executive committee has a plan to deal with this issue and will work closely with the PR director and committee to see it come to fruition, according to Freel.

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5 Responses

  1. Mathew Carrick says:

    I want to have it on the record that the previous Public Relations Director was not fired and was not incompetent.

    Mathew Carrick
    ASUAF President

  2. Anne Williamson says:

    Just for clarification, Senator Martin was mistaken when she stated that the previous ASUAF Public Relations Director was “let go for being incompetent.” This is simply not true, the previous PRD resigned.

  3. Cordero Reid says:

    Overall this is fair and well written account of events. I would like to point out that the Executive Office not the committee is working to improve public relations, and Senator Cain was present. Also the deadline was a bill to be presented to the Senate by April 17th.

    On the bill itself, I do not believe that was ill conceived. It was not the best avenue for it. I received credit from President Carrick regarding certain merits and ideas of the bill.

    In all honesty, speaking as a student and not senator, I believed the bill would fail in the climate currently. I think the rejection of the bill itself speaks volumes to the willingness of reaching out to constituents.

    All in all, I consider this a success.

  4. Hannah Witherington says:

    While inappropriate comments were made at the meeting, I feel this bill was failed as was appropriate. The entire Executive Office including President Carrick recommended that this bill not be submitted to the Senate and to state otherwise is blatantly incorrect. The entire Executive Office works very hard on its public outreach, but can only be as effective as the Senate it oversees. It should be noted that the author of this legislation is one of many who have made no efforts to participate in existing public relation plans, yet has no problem critizing them or the people who work hard to implement them. This legislation is entirely deconstructive and misdirected. It failed as it should have. Senators should work with one another and with the Executive Office, not against them. This directive was extremely disappointing and it was a great relief to see the entire senate recommend it unfavorably.

  5. Adam Levy says:

    I read the article twice and still have no idea what the fuss, let alone the directive, is about.

    Was it simply a statement that some other positions should attempt to solve the problem of student engagement?

    What does ASUAF do again?

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