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Student senators hold closed-session meeting

By Stephanie Hall
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 26, 2006
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ASUA senators called an executive session at the senate meeting last night, closing off part the meeting to the public.

According to the meeting agenda, the session was called so senators could discuss procedures related to the discipline of an ASUA officer and the appointment of student advisers to the senate and student records, which are confidential by law.

The meeting was attended by the nine Associated Students of the University of Arizona senators, secretary David Schexnayder, ASUA adviser Jim Drnek and Kiel Berry, a first-year law student and senate legal counsel.

Sen. Matthew Boepple wouldn't comment on the purpose of the executive session, whether it was productive or if another would be held.The senators would not disclose the identity of the officer whose discipline was in question, but last semester some senators discussed impeaching Student Body President Cade Bernsen. No

impeachment charges have been made against Bernsen.

Though Bernsen has been on leave for two weeks, he attended the meeting before it entered executive session because he wanted to "observe and support the senate," he said.

Before the executive session, the senators approved a Senate Stipend Amendment, which proposed that the senators' stipends worth $13,000 come out of the general fund instead of the senate fund, which was $22,000 this past year.

The vote was initially split 4-4, but Sen. Patrick Cook, the vice chair of the senate, cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the amendment for a student body vote.

Because it is an amendment to the ASUA constitution, the proposal must be passed through a student body vote in the general election in March.

Dan Adams, director of student unions, presented the results of a survey of students about a possible student union fee, which was disapproved by representatives of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, Elaine Ulrich and Paul Thorn.

While it might become an action item next week, no vote was taken about the student union fee because it was an informational item on the agenda.

Senators approved $6,231 for club funding, despite the protests of some senators that spending on clubs should be curtailed.

Sen. Rhonda Tubbs said club funding was relatively low. About $15,700 is in the budget, but up to $30,000 of allocated money has yet to be picked up.

"There have been years where we have not been able to find funds and club funding had to shut down a little bit early," Drnek said.

Boepple said ASUA was in the same position last year, but that the available funds were actually higher because many clubs didn't pick up money allocated to them.

The senate did not approve funding for the club Relay for Life, which presented a budget and a request for $831.93 at the meeting.

Sen. Matthew Boepple said that while ASUA does support Relay for Life, the group should go through proper club funding procedures. He said he didn't feel comfortable supporting it through the senate budget.

In other business, Jordan Miller was approved as election commissioner. Miller has been acting as the commissioner after resigning from marketing director to replace Tyler Carrell, who resigned in December.

"She's very capable," said Sen. Ashley Eden. "She has a long list of credentials."

The senate filled another position, approving Andrea Brodie as the clerk of ASUA's supreme court.

Student Regent Ben Graff informed the senate of the progress made this week in the presidential search and the successful turnout at the student forums.

"I've been absolutely impressed with the quality of the student forums," Graff said. "I think the candidates have been pushed harder by the students than at some of the other forums on campus."

He said the new president would be announced "relatively quickly" to let the unchosen candidates resume their jobs. Graff also encouraged the senators to make sure the new president is well aware of the UA's open-door policy with students.

- Anthony D. Ávila contributed to this report.

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