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Issue of the week: Columnists play ASUA senators

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Last week, all 10 ASUA senators came out with revised agendas in which they outlined scaled-back or completely new goals from those they made during the campaign. Two months into the semester, it seems that they have done little else. We asked our columnists, "If you were a senator, what would be your top priority?"

Jessica Lee

Senate: Vow to get teeter-totter removed

It seems that running for and winning a senate seat takes a mixture of ignorance, deception, lofty ideas and having tons of friends. Well, it helps if you are good looking too.

As a result, every year the senate is filled with students who seem to have no clue what they are doing and eventually end up making the same mistakes as the elected officials before them most specifically, failing to complete the platform ideas that got them elected.

Illustration by Arnie Bermudez

Now that the turn arrow on Park and Speedway is up, five years' worth of senators are off the hook. ASUA elections haven't been taken very seriously by the student body for the last several years only about 10 percent of students vote in the elections.

Students frankly do not care who represents them on campus because they fail to see how student government can protect and/or promote student interests. Are senators really listening? Do they turn a head when students complain during class? Do they read the letters to the editor?

Here's an idea that a senator could undertake that would make most of campus extremely grateful: Remove the busted blue teeter-totter by Old Main.

It would be simple. Organize a petition, get a senator to stand outside near the limp statue for an hour or two everyday. Then, introduce the resolution "Get that pitiful piece of art off campus" to the senate, pass it, take it to the Public Art Advisory Committee and demand, on the behalf of over 20,000 undergraduates, that the eyesore be removed.

That blue chunk of twisted metal has re-election written all over it.

Jessica Lee is an environmental science senior. She can be reached at

Ryan Scalise

Senators need to look into some dire issues

If I were a senator, I would probably focus my attention on changing the UA from a Pepsi school to a Coca-Cola school. There are probably contracts that have not run up yet with Pepsi, but I just do not care. Every one knows that many of the students on this campus love Coke. It is true that Pepsi is probably cheaper, but the students may be willing to overlook that once they can order a cold and refreshing glass of Coca-Cola at the student union and in vending machines across campus.

I would also like to work on bringing one of Tucson's greatest local sandwich shops, the Sausage Deli, to the union. It may be one of the greatest delis on the whole west coast (no offense East Coast Subs you guys are good, too, and somehow extremely heart-healthy ).

If you are a freshman, chances are that you are quite familiar with the deli; there is a location in Park Student Union (PSU). Students are missing out at least everyone who isn't a freshman living in Coronado or one of those sketchy upperclassmen guys who always eat at PSU to scope out the frosh girls. It's a good thing that there is a location on campus, but it would be great if there were one closer to the buildings where classes are normally located.

Ryan Scalise is a political science senior. He can be reached at

Jason Poreda

Go senate, go!

I don't need to ponder what it's like to be a senator, because last year I was one. I had the tremendous opportunity to represent the student body and learned first-hand how difficult it can be.

Because of the experience I had in student government before I ran, I knew what the organization was capable of and tried to make campaign promises that were more feasible than those of many of the other candidates. Despite this, I was still forced to reevaluate what I was going to work on during the year to better fulfill my duties as a senator.

So if I were still a senator, what would I work on? I will leave that in the very capable hands of this year's senate. Listening to the students and telling the student body they made some mistakes with their campaign goals is a very positive thing to do and I tip my hat to them.

For those who think our elected officers aren't trying, go to a senate meeting and discover for yourself all the wonderful things they are trying to do. From working on the class ring to holding their meetings on the Mall, all of this years' senators have great ideas.

Jason Poreda is a political science and communication senior. He can be reached at

Sabrina Noble

My dear student voters, I promise you

If I were a senator, the sky would be the limit. Literally.

In true visionary form, I'd propose that an air-conditioned biodome be built over the campus. Impossible, you say? Hear me out.

Many students and strangers have assured me this is a good idea, and with careful budgeting over a period of 35 years, such a project would be feasible. It's just a matter of reallocating funds.

First, we could let our football team run itself. The money we'd have to spend on a new coach would then be freed up, and the lack of a coach would have little or no visible effect on Wildcat football, whereas a biodome could be seen for miles.

Next we could cut funding to UA clubs, administrators, faculty and basic utilities. At this point, my calculations say that we'd only be $5 million short, and this could easily be made up through statewide bake sales and carwashes.

While a biodome admittedly appears to be an astronomically bad idea at first glance, it would pay for itself and then some. Class attendance would skyrocket as milder temperatures encouraged walking around campus. The protective cover would shield us from damaging UV rays, rain, pigeons and the homeless. The UA would gain national prominence for being the only campus in the U.S. to have an artificial climate. More impressive, we'll have asserted mankind's insuppressible and usually unwarranted ingenuity.

It's a big dream, I know, but if I were an ASUA senator, I'm pretty sure I could make that happen.

Sabrina Noble is a senior majoring in English and creative writing. She can be reached at

Daniel Scarpinato

Senators should strive to get people talkin'

Here's something the senate could do: Host campus debates on hot topics. No, not boring forums held in secluded classrooms in the Harvill building.

Set something up on the Mall at noon with pizza and hotdogs and a stage with people debating hazing, campus police reliability or sexual assaults.

Use the occasion as an opportunity to engage the campus in dialogue. But in general, senators should keep the plans and proposals simple, fun and manageable. Look at Spirit Director Peter Wand's successful campaign as a senator to institute the Zona Zoo concept. It's been a hit.

Presidential candidate Aaron Black's idea back in 2002 of putting misters around the student union wasn't all that bad. And while trying to bring change to campus through their position is great, senators forget another highly important role that they have: To serve as a clearing house for ASUA policies.

Even though a number of last year's senators have admitted that they were not entirely fond of former President Doug Hartz' tuition proposal, all of them either voted for the proposal or abstained altogether.

Senators should get creative, be realistic and hold the student body president accountable. Otherwise, students will continue to question this body's relevance.

Daniel Scarpinato is a political science and journalism senior. He can be reached at

Kendrick Wilson

Persevere to keep promises

If I were an ASUA senator, I would persevere rather than simply roll over under pressure to drop my campaign promises. I might not have run on the issues of street lighting and CatCard meal plans on University Boulevard, but I would not give up on those plans so soon.

For years, ASUA senators have made campaign proposals for basketball tickets and making CatCard meal plans usable at the restaurants on University Boulevard. Many have tried and failed at these goals, but that does not mean the current senators cannot be the ones to make it happen. Sometimes it takes a leader in this case an ASUA senator to arrange numerous meetings with the athletics department to push a specific proposal for dealing with basketball tickets. It would take a leader to contact businesses on University Boulevard and convince them that CatCard meal plans could work in their favor.

Maybe these goals won't be successful no matter how hard ASUA senators push them, but very little that is worthwhile is successful the first time it is brought up. ASUA senators need to realize their roles as student activists who can push for change by rallying students behind an issue rather than administrators who can make decisions on issues that are brought before them.

Kendrick Wilson is a political science junior. He can be reached at

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