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What have your senators been doing for you?

Shurid Sen
By Shurid Sen
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 26, 2006
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On March 10 last year, UA students elected 10 of their peers as Associated Students of the University of Arizona senators and charged them with representing the student body in name and deed. With elections for next year's senate just around the corner, it is instructive to take a look at which senators have been most successful in accomplishing the goals they outlined in their platforms a little over a year ago.

Matthew Boepple

Boepple ran on a platform to improve ASUA programs and promote civic service. Though he was responsible for forums involving Tucson City Council and the mayor's office, Boepple's larger goal of increasing student involvement in politics has yet to come to fruition. The sophomore expressed some apprehension about the senate's progress, saying, "It took us some time to get used to the job." Despite his somewhat mediocre showing so far, the senate's youngest member should be commended for developing and pursuing a reasonable platform from the outset. GRADE: C.

Patrick Cook

When Cook ran for ASUA senate, he promised to improve student awareness of ASUA and to work to lower textbook prices at the UofA Bookstore. While his textbook initiative was stalled by logistical problems that were obvious at the time of his candidacy, that failure was offset by his successful initiation of the "Roll with a Senator" program, a campaign that has so far contacted more than 1,000 students regarding ASUA activities. GRADE: B.

Alex Dong

The senior senator at one time hoped to acquire the services of a legal music downloading service for the campus. While a similar program was approved at ASU less than a year ago, the program was nixed due to problems with campus Internet capabilities. Nevertheless, Dong has demonstrated his dedication to student-ASUA interaction through his work with the fledgling constituency councils. GRADE: B.

Ashley Eden

Eden returned as a senator last year after spearheading attempts to establish the CatsRIDDE program, an effort to reduce the incidence of impaired student driving, in 2004-2005. The program was approved in October and will begin in February at a cost of $5 to riders, after an attempt to make the service free came under criticism. Eden's dedication to a realistic and relevant campaign platform has helped make her one of the most accomplished senators this year. GRADE: A.

Ryan Erickson

Upon entering office, Erickson quickly abandoned his campaign promise to create a student political party, a nebulous and inappropriate platform point. Since then, Erickson has kept busy, but largely by riding the coattails of successful senators such as Eden and Rhonda Tubbs. While his work on CatsRIDDE and a senate Listserv is admirable, his failure to initiate a strong program of his own indicates that he is a follower in the office of leaders. GRADE: D.

Lexie Ettinger

Ettinger, a newcomer to the senate, ran on a regrettable platform of installing CatCard readers in taxis and printing a bilingual Arizona Daily Wildcat. Although the Wildcat is an independent entity, Ettinger has continued to push for Spanish articles via a poorly conceived and administered survey. While Ettinger has pursued Steve Forbes for a February speaking engagement, her poorly researched platform, including a proposal of a program virtually identical to CatsRIDDE, has undermined senate cohesiveness this year. GRADE: F.

Jami Reinsch

Last year, Reinsch said she hoped to help establish a child-care program at the UA, to create an interactive recruitment video and to fundraise through a so-called "Big Comfy Couch" raffle. While the child-care program devised by Reinsch and others in ASUA is moving forward, and while Reinsch believes she has "helped to improve unity in ASUA," her fundraising plan was not approved and her recruitment video is still in an early stage. Although Sen. Reinsch hasn't been able to fulfill her platform goals, she has consistently labored to make them a reality in the senate. GRADE: B.

Heather Spicer

Sen. Spicer used her second term to promote ASUA through the "Roll with a Senator" program championed by Cook. Though she ran with the intent of promoting campus safety, her work to that end has been hindered by health concerns that kept her out of the senate for nearly a month. Spicer's attempt to stick to an accomplishable platform is commendable. GRADE: C.

Rhonda Tubbs

Senior Tubbs ran on a platform of making laptops available for rental through the library and improving road conditions on campus. She was the driving force behind the just-launched rental program, for which she secured $10,000 in grants. "The laptop loan program was one of the biggest things to come out of the senate in a while," praised fellow senator Boepple. Tubbs' ability to enact an ambitious task within a year, in combination with a slew of other work, shows a dedication to the student community that is worthy of her senate seat. GRADE: A.

Special regards to junior Sen. Matt Loehman, who was forced to resign by health concerns. Loehman was consistently praised by his fellow senators as someone who brought unique characteristics and perspectives to the senate.

Shurid Sen is a political science and economics junior and can be reached at

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