Editorial: ASUA senators didn't do their homework, again
A President Peter Likins made his annual voyage to the ASUA Senate meeting on Wednesday night. A presidential tradition with Likins, the senators are welcomed into their new post and allowed to question the president about University of Arizona issues.
And following the traditions set by their predecessors, the senators were unprepared and poorly represented students' concerns.
Last year, as student parents cried at the president, asking him to make improvements in the UA's child-care system, then-Executive Vice President Cisco Aguilar changed the subject and began questioning Likins about parking meters.
His complaint - campus meters only accept quarters.
Seeing the inanity of Aguilar's query, Likins redirected the conversation back to child care and told the tearful parents that he would try his best to improve their situation.
This year, the issue was the UA's notorious reputation for poor advising. Senators bombarded Likins with questions about the problem, and the president relied on promoting the Integrated Learning Center as the answer.
Likins did admit that advising is a serious problem, a sentiment also expressed by the senators. But the president did not come before the Senate with any ideas to improve advising, saying only that "we need to cater to the younger students' needs."
Since construction of the ILC won't be complete until 2001, students and their leaders must still face two years with inadequate advising. In addition, the ILC is designed for freshmen, leaving upper-classmen to wander through the university searching for already-overwhelmed faculty advisers.
This problem should have been researched. Ideas should have been presented.
But, once again, ASUA dropped the ball.
The Senate had the university president in its grasp. His ears were open, ready to hear student commentary and researched solutions.
ASUA gave him none.
When the senators should have recruited students to share their problems with Likins, they instead threw their own impromptu questions at him.
When they should have presented examples showing how other universities deal with their advising problems, they instead whined about their personal problems.
And - perhaps the worst offense - when our "leaders" should have prepared a solution that incorporated their experiences, student opinion, advisers' comments and examples of strong advising programs, they came to the president empty-handed.
Granted, this is a young and inexperienced group of senators. They're not expected to be pillars of knowledge and intelligence.
But ASUA's leadership, coming from Aguilar and Executive Vice President Ben Graff, appears lacking.
A visit from the university president is extraordinary. Former UA President Manuel Pacheco ignored ASUA, specifically the Senate.
Likins is far different. He allowed the Associated Students to offer input on Student Union construction and he consulted former ASUA President Tara Taylor on various student-related issues.
He expects the student government to pass legislation and lobby his office for necessary changes.
Once again - as exemplified Wednesday - ASUA senators did not keep their campaign promises and were negligent in their duties.
For a group begging for attention, ASUA has yet to show the campus any reasons to heed their governance.