ASUAF Recap – March 23, 2014

Kaz Alvarez / Sun Star Reporter

Senators present
Matthew Carrick, Eli Barry-Garland, Jordyn Houlton, Cordero Reid, Shane Poindexter, Kemper Shabotte, Ashley Strauch, Daniel Strigle

Senators absent
Brix Hahn, Sarah Walker, Lida Zakurdaew, Mickey Zakurdaew

Officers Present
Ayla O’Scannell and Michael Mancill

UAF represented
O’Scannell and Mancill attended the Alaska legislature meeting in Juneau for a follow-up trip to continue advocating for UAF’s continuously contained budget. To help represent smaller UA campuses, O’Scannell gave $1000 from her executive budget to bring Kuskokwin student Jason Smith to Juneau.

Location change
Mancill is trying to find new locations for senate meetings. With consent from the senators, the meeting for March 30 will take place in Gruening 209.

Must be present to enter?
Discussion opened on the topic of whether senators should have to be physically at the senate meetings to be counted as present.

Strauch expressed her concerns regarding the technology malfunctions with teleconferencing during the previous meeting. During that meeting, Barry-Garland and Mickey Zakurdaew called in, as well as O’Scannell while traveling out of state for student activities.

The technology didn’t work, causing poor communication during the meeting. Strauch’s primary concern was that senators can call in and still be marked present at the meeting. She expressed that calling in did not substitute for being physically present at the meeting or actively participating in debate.

“I propose that you should still get counted as excused absences if calling in rather than fully absent but not present,” Strauch said. “What stops the senate from just not showing up? We do have leeway with the excused absence system.”

The senate reviewed the shortcomings of the existing technology. There was a general worry that marking a call in as absent would be a punishment to senators. “My concern is that this would be punishing students who are making an effort,” O’Scannell said. “We could lose senator participation and reduce quorum, which would affect our ability to conduct business.”

Strauch clarified that she was in support of senators calling in when unable to attend physically but did not feel senators could make informed decisions when unable to hear debate or participate in it.

Social media connections
Reid was able to speak with the university’s social media coordinator, Andrew Cassel about involving the university with student clubs. He suggested that the senate continue communicating with Cassel about how student clubs can benefit from working with UAF’s social media.

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