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.