ASUAF Recap, March 6
Matt Mertes / Sun Star
Present: Joseph Degraft-Amanfu, Jacob Sears, Cordero Reid, Allyssia Garcia, Ryan Cain, Diane Murph
Absent: Ivik Henry, Benjamin Anderson-Agimuk, Rose Bright, Zachary White
Absent Excused: None
Dean of Students Laura McCollough, showed up to this week’s meeting of ASUAF. She showed her support for the student government and explained how she might be able to help ASUAF. McCollough is interested in helping to train an ombudsman. This student would be tasked with investigating individuals’ complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities.
“I’m definitely interested in helping to train that person,” McCollough said. “That person would be someone a student could come talk to and say here is my situation, what do I do?”
McCollough is so far keeping good on her promise to be more present in the student government and the senate was receptive to her suggestions. Her thoughts on gun safety in light of the possible changes to concealed carry rights on campus were heard by the senate.
Senator Joseph Degraft-Amanfu asked McCollough about the residents of UAF being able to carry weapons on their person or in their rooms. McCollough said she believes that as it is written now the bill would not allow the carrying of firearms into the dormitories. One of the four accepted amendments to the concealed carry bill stipulated that dorms would be a gun free zone.
“If this goes through and gets approved, and it looks like it’s going to happen, we’re going to have to really go slow and make sure we understand what we’re asking people to do,” McCollough said.
Vice President Colby Freel asked about the smoking ban on campus and said he would like to see some kind of leadership concerning exactly what type of enforcement would be appropriate.
“We have seen the ban go into place, we’ve seen the stickers on the doors and we’ve seen the ashtrays removed. That’s all I’ve seen,” Freel said.
McCollough agreed with Freel that there has been a severe lack of leadership and consensus on the plan to become a tobacco free campus.
“I don’t really know what we want to do and how we can do it, so that right there is where we’re lacking,” McCollough said.
Her ideas about enforcing smoking bans was to go positive instead of negative. Commending people for not smoking and not chastising them for smoking is one way McCollough noted that students could help change the culture on campus.
“Approaches to big changes like that take time, and we’re really getting the groundwork now,” McCollough said.
Jenny Carol from the Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development Department came to talk about the General Education Requirement changes to include an Alaska Native Studies course. This change will be implemented for all incoming first-year students in Fall 2016. This is in a response from many faculty and students, who believe students should be required learn about the history and culture of Alaska and should not be ignorant of the land they live on.
Johnathan Quiñones came by to impart some wisdom on the appointment of a new senate chair after he resigned from the position for health reasons.
“It is very important for a senate chair to be able to exercise impartiality and self discipline and self control in the face of opposition or any kind of conflict relating to student government,” Quiñones said.
He endorsed Senator Joseph Degraft-Amanfu, saying he is a very level headed and objective person who would lead the senate in a good direction. After a vote, Degraft-Amanfu was appointed as the new senate chair.