Senator debates climate change

A Review of Infrastructure, Sustainability and Energy board hopeful, Zachery Nicholson, came up against some scrutiny during the senate’s final consideration of his appointment from Senator Daniel Dougherty. Dougherty confronted Nicholson on his position of the causes of climate change.

“Do you think there’s a possibility that humans aren’t the sole cause of global warming or climate change? Do you think that’s a possibility?” Dougherty asked.

Nicholson did not understand the relevance of the question asked as it pertained to the RISE appointment.

“I feel like that isn’t really very applicable to this, because the goal of the RISE board is sustainability,” Nicholson said. “So if you want to look at sustainability, humans are eventually going to run out of oil, that’s a fact, and so eventually we need to discover better solutions. I wouldn’t say I’m a believer in climate change, I would just say that’s scientific consensus.”

Dougherty pressed the issue, asking Senate chair Samuel Mitchell if he could respond to Nicholson’s answer, stating that the views of Nicholson may have a bearing on his decision to appoint him.

“The reason I’m asking is because I don’t really want to be reducing carbon emissions for the sake of climate change, maybe for clean air,” Dougherty said.

Nicholson was eventually appointed to the open position on the RISE board. When Dougherty was later asked about what he feels is the function of the RISE board, the senator said he had just recently learned of it.

“I just learned of it last week,” Dougherty said. “I see it as something trying to help the environment, which I’m for helping the environment, I just disagree a little bit on what helps and what doesn’t.”

ASUAF heard from Josiah Nash, the UAA ombudsman, who was here to advocate for the creation of an ombudsman position here at UAF. If ASUAF decides to go forward with the creation of such a position, it could serve to help students who require advocacy and representation in situations involving unfair practices by administration or other groups on campus.

“What that position is, is essentially a student advocate, it’s a presidential appointment and we have it at UAA and I believe [UAF] should have it here,” Nash said. “I think it would really help UAF.”

Nash presented several cases from UAA where the ombudsman served to help students with complaints, ranging from small issues, like changing whiteboard cleaning agents that students were allergic to, to larger issues involving inappropriate actions from faculty resulting in the students receiving failing grades.

“The duties are broad as far as advocacy goes,” Nash said. “The most common cases I get are academic disputes, and these can be program dismissals or final grade appeals.”

After the presentation the senate thanked Nash for his time on this potentially important position.

Matt Mertes

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