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Friday February 23, 2001

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Student forum will help set ASUA policy guidelines

By Emily Severson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senator plans gathering to be held on the UA Mall

In keeping his promise to reach out to UA undergraduates, an ASUA senator has proposed a new forum to learn about student concerns and issues.

Sen. Gino Duran said he intends for the forum to be held on the UA Mall, and would have an open-microphone format. The name of the committee will be the Special Senate Committee for Student Forums, he said.

The framework for hosting the once-a-semester UA student forum was approved at the Associated Students Senate meeting Wednesday night.

After each student forum, the committee will write up a report of the concerns discussed and present it to ASUA. The reports would then be used as guidelines for their policies.

"We always try to make policies based on student opinion," said ASUA Executive Vice President Erick Negri. "It is important to be able to reach out to students to see what they want."

Duran said he hopes to highly publicize the event in order to have a high student turn out. He added that having the event on the Mall during lunch and including refreshments, activities and music would increase student participation.

Sen. Seth Frantzman said he supports Duran's idea.

"This will give students a chance to talk about what affects them," he said. "If we do this right with good advertising, it will increase our communication with students by a lot."

Duran said ensuring that the forums have a "relaxed feeling" is important. He acknowledged that it might be difficult at first for students to come forward and share their concerns in such a setting.

"We might have a few senators speak first to get the ball rolling," he said.

Nathan Marsden, a communication senior, said he thought the forums could benefit students. He added that if he knew about the forum in advance he would definitely attend.

"I think this is a great way to reach students," agreed James Johnson, a computer engineering sophomore. "Holding the event on the Mall is a good idea because some students don't know when ASUA meets. If ASUA wants to get noticed this is a good way to do it."

The committee will be made up of seven student members and a senator chairman. Any undergraduate student in good standing can apply to be a member.

The committee will have the responsibility of holding the forum at least once a semester, but could have others as many times as members feel necessary.