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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA violates bylaw

    Questions regarding ASUA’s club funding policies were raised after a campus club was denied funding without being given the right to due process.

    Members of Caring for the Advancement of Refugee Education, a club that tutors high school refugee students in Tucson, addressed the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate at its meeting yesterday evening, to what they referred to as “”an injustice to students.””

    At the beginning of this semester, CARE, a newly founded organization, requested $659.96 in funding to pay for office supplies, a banner, colored brochures and an advertisement in the Arizona Daily Wildcat. The ASUA Appropriations Board only

    approved funding for the banner ($246.58) and the office supplies ($55.63), accounting for $302.21.

    At the ASUA meeting Feb. 4, the board voted to deny CARE $40 in funding for black and white fliers, citing financial restrictions.

    ASUA Sen. Brent Hanson, a physiology sophomore who oversees the board, said ASUA’s budget requires its members to be financially responsible.

    “”There are so many clubs on campus that are deserving of every request they send, but that’s not possible with our budget,”” Hanson said.

    ASUA’s Feb. 4 meeting was rescheduled to Feb. 8, which led to organizational issues the following week and prevented the board from adequately notifying CARE of its next meeting, Hanson said.

    According to ASUA bylaw section 11.01, article 4(a), ASUA must contact a club advocate for special funding two weeks before funds are being requested.

    On Feb. 11, the board voted to deny CARE funding, after notifying the group of the meeting hours before, in direct violation of the bylaw.

    The senate addressed the violation at its meeting that evening and sent out a memo to the board instructing them to treat CARE’s request as a new case, allowing enough time for a fair hearing.

    Mohamed Arif, president of CARE said he had no idea why the board denied them funding and gave them the run-around.

    “”We are a club that benefits UA students and gives them leadership experience while helping prepare future UA students,”” Arif said. “”We thought what we were asking for was modest and compared to other clubs; what we requested was a fraction of the cost.””

    The club contested the decision and wanted to push funding for the black and white fliers.

    “”I want to ask the board to think about other clubs that come to get funding,”” said Ezekiel Gebrekidane, vice president of CARE and a chemistry senior. “”How would they have responded to this? Would they have continued to come back like we did, or just say ASUA doesn’t support us?””

    The board met with CARE on Monday but failed to comply with the points outlined in the memo.

    At the meeting last night, ASUA Sen. Dustin Cox, a political science junior, expressed his frustration with the board’s actions.

    “”I was at that meeting (Feb. 11) and I saw how members of CARE were ignored and not given the right to speak,”” Cox said. “”I also was not given a chance to speak.””

    ASUA Sen. Mark Copoulos, a history senior, shared his sentiment.

    “”We didn’t even give CARE a fair notice to attend the meeting and then voted when they weren’t there,”” he said. “”The directors didn’t want to hear my voice or the voice of the club – what happened on Monday is ridiculous.””

    At the meeting last night, all ASUA senators except Hanson, voted to approve $342.21 in funding for CARE.

    Hanson said he stood by his decision.

    “”Due process is kind of irrelevant because at the end of the day they’re requesting money for the same thing – the banner and the brochures,”” Hanson said. “”I apologize for the hassle they went through but we shouldn’t pay more money.””

    Cox said Camp Wildcat has a similar mission to CARE, and are funded up to thousands of dollars.

    “”This organization is asking for 40 more dollars to get their brochures printed; I think we can make that happen,”” Cox said.

    Melodie Schwartz, a director on the board and a communications junior, said the senate was doing the right thing by reevaluating the situation.

    “”CARE has had the same request from the beginning,”” she said. “”It was a minor glitch on our part and the senate should look at this with a fresh eye.

    “”This isn’t a problem with the club appropriations policy – the problem was that the board didn’t follow it,”” Cox said. “”We’ve corrected that and now we’re ready to move on.””

    ASUA President Tommy Bruce addressed the senate to provide closure on the matter.

    “”All that happened with CARE shows us that the process isn’t perfect,”” he said. “”We can learn from what happened and continue to improve our processes.

    Arif said he was happy with ASUA’s decision to fund the fliers and would start to promote their club around campus.

    “”The situation could have been different and the Senate could have just gone along with the appropriations board,”” Arif said. “”They saw that injustice was happening and they changed it. They’re supporting all clubs on campus with their decision.””

    “”I feel great now, like I was give my rights,”” Gebrekidane said. “”I wish it was done in January when we first asked but it’s resolved and we are happy about that.””

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