Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 17, 1998

ASUA's leadership vacuum

Like it or hate it, the campus has been talking about CatCard for the last month.

It is not an obscure issue, but one that has seen its share of coverage on local television and in Tucson's two large daily papers, as well as, the Arizona Daily Wildcat..

Community questions and complaints have been constant and serious enough that University of Arizona President Peter Likins has both apologized to students and employees for administrative mistakes involving CatCard and hosted a forum on the issue.

But, again, the group students count on to represent their views, the Associated Students Senate, has failed to take a timely position on an issue important to the campus.

Wednesday night, the Senate tabled a resolution that would have fully denounced the institution of CatCard and called for an "increased emphasis on the division between business and the UA."

Senators said they believed a decision was inappropriate at this time because they wanted more meetings between students, ASUA and university officials. This despite the surfeit of information that has been available since the university's release of student and employee Social Security numbers to Saguaro Credit Union and MCI Telecommunications Corp. was revealed in mid-March.

ASUA President Gilbert Davidson warned senators it was inappropriate for student government to take such a strong stance.

The Senate didn't even draft the resolution, it was brought to them by Senator-elect Marisa Hall and former Senate candidate Travis Klein.

The Senate should have drafted their own resolution several weeks ago, not waited for students to bring their own version. The Senate should be proactive on issues like CatCard. It's their job.

Senators owe it to their constituents to know what issues affect students and be willing to take a position as soon as they know all the facts, not after the topic has circulated through campus for weeks.

Senators attempted to remove some of the stronger wording in the resolution before they finally tabled the issue. Hall and Klein have expressed strong, public opinions about CatCard and strong language should be expected.

The senators know better than anyone what language their colleagues will accept and they should have been the ones to take charge of the issue. That is what students elected them to do.

As student leaders, ASUA should be doing their own homework on all the issues that affect the student body. They should be prepared to make strong statements with the facts they have collected.

ASUA has already waited too long to take a position on CatCard and has dissolved any effectiveness their stance would have had.

When one looks at the ASUA Senate, the leadership vacuum is apparent. On issues from affirmative action to campus violence, to the proposed Nike deal, the senators have steadfastly refused to take any stand.

We can only hope that a new Senate and a new student body president will live down the gutless reputation ASUA has earned.


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