By Christie S. Peterson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
In an unanticipated move this weekend, student government president T.J. Trujillo announced the suspension of all daily operations within ASUA, effective Monday.
This move came as a result of a decision handed down by the ASUA Supreme Court placing a temporary prohibition on all presidential expenditures, pending future decisions.
Placing such an injunction effectively halts all ASUA operations, Trujillo said, because all funding requests must be approved by the president.
"The president's office is shut down," he said. "If I can't operate, that means ASUA can't operate."
On Feb. 9, Trujillo issued a memorandum to ASUA accountant Gail Tanner requesting that she "set up budgets and execute expenditures from the additional ASUA Bookstore revenue in the areas of need under Presidential Operations." Tanner was unavailable for comment over the weekend.
Trujillo said these "areas of need" included workers' salaries and other things needed for daily functions, which were being neglected while the official budget is approved.
The following day, the Graduate and Professional Student Council sent a request to the ASUA Supreme Court to halt the distribution of these funds, and filed a formal complaint with the Supreme Court Justice. mid
In the request, GPSC President Mitzi Forbes cited violations of "numerous sections of the ASUA constitution requiring that all monies be appropriated by the ASUA legislative bodies" as cause for the injunction.
Forbes saw Trujillo's request to the ASUA accountant as asking to "load requested funds into his account," that "hadn't even been presented to us (ASUA's Central Coordinating Committee)."
Trujillo was expected to present a newly revised budget to the CCC Thursday morning, which did not occur because the funds in question had not been dealt with, Forbes said.
"We're all waiting on him," she said.
Trujillo said he blames the delay on a "lack of sufficient information" he had requested from ASUA members prior to going on vacation last week.
In defense of his actions, Trujillo refers to the ASUA constitution, which states that "the student body president will be responsible for all Associated Students funds."
He also cites a 1993 memorandum from UA Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Saundra L. Taylor in which the president is given "... fiduciary responsibility for the funds allocated from ASUA's budget," and is required to "sign-off on all expenditures in ASUA."
"He has a different opinion, a different reading on the constitution than we do," Forbes said. She called the situation "an issue that must be settled."
To attempt to resolve the conflict, Trujillo has requested "an immediate binding arbitration by the supreme court." Although neither Forbes nor the Supreme Court Supreme Justice Mike Brown had received notice of this, Forbes said she does not "see a particular problem" with arbitration.
"The sooner it's solved, the better for everyone involved," she said.
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