USUAA vows to improve registration for students

UAA student government put to vote a number of contentious issues April 21, including a vote on the stipends its members would receive for their work this semester as well as two resolutions that would attempt to streamline the registration process for students.

Sen. John Roberson III introduced two resolutions that were prompted by the recent release of the summer and fall 2006 course catalogues and were aimed at clarifying course listings. The first sought to require all instructors to post online a course syllabus 30 days before the registration period so that students will know what to expect before signing up for a class.

“I don’t think it’s unfair to ask the faculty to put the syllabus online,” said Residence Hall Association Representative David Martin. “It’s not demanding the final product.”

The second resolution stated that all instructors’ names should be included in the catalogue prior to its publication because, Roberson said, it is important for students to know which instructors they will be in contact with.

“This, in English, is unacceptable,” Roberson said in reference to the 28 English 111 courses listed only as being taught by “staff” for the fall semester. “There’s no way they don’t know who’s teaching that many courses.”

Both measures passed unanimously and will be forwarded to the faculty senate for review.

Members’ stipends were put to a vote by secret ballot after a brief period of comment on members’ performance during this semester during which time Sen. Justice Brooks voiced his opposition to Sen. Tommy Spitzer receiving a stipend. All members’ stipends passed with the exception of Spitzer’s, who did not attend the meeting. President Anthony Rivas received $2,000, while Vice President Kortney Hintsala got $1,000 and senators got $250 each.

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The amount of the stipends was previously determined by the finance committee and approved in a budget submitted to the Board of Regents last spring.

Also, Sen. Jessica Armstrong succeeded in securing the funding needed to advertise an upcoming book swap May 6 in the South Cafeteria, cosponsored by USUAA and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

“The purchase of textbooks is financially stressing for students,” she said. “This will be a great opportunity for people to buy and sell books cheaply.”

A bill that sought to contribute $500 to a student’s trip to participate in Team in Training, an athletic event that raises money to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma, met stiff opposition in the assembly. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Karl Wing, said it was important for UAA’s students to act as contributing members of the broader community and that this bill would help demonstrate that they are.

Opponents, however, thought spending student fees for charitable donations could set a dangerous standard.

“If we do give out this funding, we would be setting a precedent, and how will we decide what is a good cause for future spending?” asked Sen. Behnaaz Irani. “We are not a philanthropy _” we’re the student government.”

Roberson said he had surveyed students about the bill and that most had been in support. That was not enough, though, to persuade the assembly.

“If we really want to support this, it should come out of the pocket of each and every person in this room, not from the students,” said Sen. Tafi Toleafea.

The measure failed in an 11-3 vote.

A final bill up for consideration, sponsored by RHA Representative Julie Shefchik, attempted to appropriate $2,000 for the creation of a sports field that would be located adjacent to the cul-de-sac outside of the MAC apartments.

“I totally support building a new field, but obviously we don’t have the money for it right now,” Greek Council Representative Jeff Henderson said.

Although a majority of the assembly voiced their support of the measure, the contingency fund, which is generally reserved for emergencies, lacked the necessary money this year and the bill was deferred to a later meeting for review.

“I’m a little worried that we’re talking about giving money that we don’t have,” Hintsala said. “It’s just not there.”