Injunction freezes ASUA account expenditures

By Christie S. Peterson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Presidential approval of student government funding requests was suspended for two hours Monday morning after president T.J. Trujillo declared on Sunday that "... ASUA can't operate," because of a temporary injunction issued by the supreme court.

Trujillo posted signs Sunday declaring all daily operations "terminated" and all expenditures of Associated Students of the University of Arizona monies "unauthorized," to comply with an ASUA Supreme Court decision to place a hold on funds he had authorized released earlier in the week.

However, ASUA office workers arriving Monday morning reported seeing no such signs, and everything appeared to be business as usual.

The injunction was officially in effect from the time the office opened at 8 a.m. until Trujillo filed an appeal with the Supreme Court at 10 a.m. That appeal was later denied, but the Supreme Court ruled that the president may continue spending from the Presidential Operations account, Trujillo said.

At issue was the $140,000 contained in the additional ASUA Bookstore revenue account, from which Trujillo authorized ASUA Accountant Gail Tanner to transfer unspecified sums to the Presidential Operations account and to distribute to "areas of need."

Trujillo's appeal states that these areas included "salaries, advertising, copying, cleaning contracts, and food contracts." Other programs possibly affected were the ASUA Escort Service and "The Cat's Eye," the student-produced television show.

In the appeal, Trujillo refuted Supreme Court jurisdiction over his actions in question and claimed to have been denied due process, because the injunction occurred while he was out of town.

He also cited a similar case from last summer in which he authorized $30,000 to pay for commencement activities, and was not questioned. He said he saw "no difference" between that situation and the current one.

"Until we know for absolute sure that we have no money to spend, than we will operate as planned for as long as we can," said Greg Gemson, director of the ASUA Escort Service.

Graduate and Professional Student Council President Mitzi Forbes, who signed the original request for the injunction, said the constitution did not actually give Trujillo the authority to transfer the funds, and that such a move required legislative approval.

She also said the monies in question were "extra funds," not the operating budget.

"He can operate, he just can't do anything new and exciting," she said. "He's the president and this is a democracy."

Trujillo said there are now two options to either litigate the case or pass the budget.

He said he is pleased with the committee's recommendation, and is willing to submit it to the legislative bodies under the condition that they drop the complaint against him.

"That way, everyone gets what they want," Trujillo said. "If GPSC doesn't accept this, I think it's just hurting the students more than anything else."

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