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ASUA tries to make leaders accountable with new contract


By Natasha Bhuyan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 2, 2004
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In an effort to increase productivity within Associated Students of the University of Arizona this year, student government executives developed an "Accountability Contract," which was signed by members of all three branches of ASUA.

"It encourages everyone to do their job to the greatest potential," said Alistair Chapman, president of the student body.

The contract, which applies to senators, the president's cabinet, programs and services, as well as the three student executives, requires that students turn in bi-weekly progress reports which outline accomplishments from the previous two weeks.

In addition, student leaders must meet with their executives at least twice a month.

Jordan Miller, administrative vice president for ASUA, said the contract is not meant to limit student leaders; rather, it gives executives the discretion to talk to students who are not fulfilling their duties.

In the past, ASUA has received criticism regarding senators and other student leaders who are not taking an active role on campus.

Although previous student leaders have promised that each year will be more productive than the previous one, no action has ever been taken to closely monitor ASUA efficiency until now.

Chapman pointed out that in previous years, there was no distinction between students who put in 110 percent effort or 50 percent effort.

"No matter where you are, there are individuals who do dedicate themselves and those who don't," said Chapman.

Sara Birnbaum, executive vice president for ASUA, said because the senators' job description is purposefully vague, the contract is necessary to help raise effort among the ASUA Senate.

Student leaders have been receptive to the contract, calling it a good idea.

Sen. Joseph Fu, a molecular and cellular biology junior, plans to take productivity one step further, by having a notebook available outside his office which will summarize accomplished tasks, such as who he's called or events he's planned.

"We will also have more collaboration (among senators)," said Fu.

Sen. Pita Salido, a political science junior, said the contract was long overdue.

"I'm excited to see what everyone does this year," said Salido.

Chapman, Birnbaum and Miller also signed an Accountability Contract.

"The standard we are holding for ourselves, we are holding for the rest of the staff," said Chapman.

ASUA Senate Briefs

The ASUA Senate approved a $998,979 budget for 2004-2005 last week. The top two programs to receive funding were Spring Fling at $195,000, and SafeRide at $96,381.

Other allocations included $30,000 to the Speakers Board, $10,550 to Pride Alliance, $7,322 to the Women's Resource Center, $7,000 to Bear Down Camp, $6,250 to Community Development, $5,262 to Campus Acquaintance Rape Educators and $2,855 to the Student Health Advisory Council.

Chapman will receive a $6,702 stipend, while the Birnbaum and Miller will both receive $4,898.

Additional funds went to the presidential and executive vice presidential operations, at $89,005 and $117,261,

respectively.

The president's office includes academic affairs, special events and the Arizona Students' Association, while the executive vice president's office includes club events and club funding.

All campus clubs will be eligible for a portion of the allotted $85,000 in club funds.


Student Regent Ben Graff, a second year UA law student, spoke to senators at last night's senate meeting to discuss three important issues from the Arizona Board of Regents this year:

Focused Excellence at the UA, the regional university proposals and a "forced meal plan" being implemented at NAU.

Graff said senators should especially be aware of the restructuring of the Arizona universities, calling it the "largest issue facing students in the next five years."

Graff advised senators to keep in contact with Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, while listening to the UA student body.

The board recently approved a meal plan at NAU, which requires freshmen living in residence halls to purchase a $2,500 meal card, Graff said.

Although Graff said he personally believes the plan would not work well at the UA or ASU, regents are in the early stages of writing a similar proposal for both universities.

"It can become a major issue for you guys," warned Graff.


The ASUA Senate approved a proposal that creates a Senate Budget and Projects Committee.

Proposed by Sen. Nathan Bell, a pre-computer science junior, the committee will determine the most effective way to use the $20,204 senate budget.

Bell said in the past, funds were allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, rather than reviewing the most reasonable projects.

The committee will create a budget proposal by Sept. 29.



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