By Christie S. Peterson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The ASUA Undergraduate Senate passed a paradoxical pair of resolutions, one supporting the elimination of departments at the UA, the other supporting the preservation of the physical education department, at their March 7 meeting.
The first resolution was the result of a question that has been posed to previous student body presidents by administrators for student input, but has never before been forwarded to the Undergraduate Senate for endorsement.
Given the options of placing a 2 percent "tax" on all departments, and then redistributing that money according to performance, and evaluating all departments and then completely cutting some, the Undergraduate Senate voted 2-5-0 against the first and 3-2-1 in favor of the second.
Sen. Jonathan Bierner, who voted against the department cutting option, said, "I like the variety we have at the U of A. I think a lot of time we look away and things get cut."
"No one wants to see their department cut, but I don't think they should all be cut," said Senate Chairman Brad Milligan. "Now it's not just the student body president that is saying it."
The second resolution was brought to the senate by students in the physical education department asking for its preservation in the face of a recent Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee recommendation to the contrary.
The Undergraduate Senate approved the resolution 6-1-1 and two days later the Graduate and Professional Student Council voted 11-0-1 to endorse it.
Senator David Bizak, who sponsored the bill in the Undergraduate Senate, said that although none of the senators had previously given opinions on the issue, they endorsed the proposal because "physical education has taken such a strong stand in support of their department."
Ben Duncan, a physical education senior who presented the resolution to the senates, said, "They didn't have any idea how the Undergraduate Senate or Graduate and Professional Student Council stood on that ... we didn't like that.
"There is no telling what good it might do. You never know what impact that might have," he said. "I personally think there's a chance they'll look at the second SPBAC recommendation and find a home for physical education .... When someone goes before the president or provost, they can say ASUA fully backs the preservation of the physical education department."
The UA Faculty Senate is considering the elimination of the physical education department, as well as several others, and is expected to make a recommendation to President Manuel T. Pacheco in April. Pacheco will then report to the Arizona Board of Regents, which is due to vote on the matter in June.
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