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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Passing the torch: New ASUA leaders sworn in

    ASUA President Erin Hertzog, left, presents the big A to Executive Vice President David Reece behind Old Main yesterday afternoon at the inauguration for newly elected officials. Hertzog wished the new cabinet luck next semester and expressed hopes for a less turbulent ASUA in the coming year.
    ASUA President Erin Hertzog, left, presents the big ‘A’ to Executive Vice President David Reece behind Old Main yesterday afternoon at the inauguration for newly elected officials. Hertzog wished the new cabinet luck next semester and expressed hopes for a less turbulent ASUA in the coming year.

    After yesterday’s inauguration and swearing-in of elected executives and senators, ASUA members are hoping the incoming student government can move beyond the struggles of the past year.

    Students, family, friends, administrators and faculty turned out for the inauguration ceremony yesterday afternoon, as elected student body President Erin Hertzog was introduced by three past Associated Students of the University of Arizona presidents in place of absent student body president Cade Bernsen.

    Hertzog, Executive Vice President David Reece, Administrative Vice President Jami Reinsch and the 10 incoming senators took their oaths of office on a makeshift stage west of Old Main.

    Outgoing Administrative Vice President Cassiopeia Sonn, who handed over her office keys to Riensch, began the inauguration saying she disagrees with those who say the past year has been an “”off year”” that ASUA must recover from.

    “”This year was one that needs to be remembered and cherished,”” Sonn said. “”It’s shown that ASUA can conquer and overcome.””

    The 2005-2006 ASUA officials saw numerous tumultuous events stemming from accusations of sexual harassment against Bernsen.

    The group has had to deal with an absent student body president since Bernsen took a leave of absence in January.

    “”This year was the first time ASUA had to deal with something that was bigger than programs and service,”” said Rhonda Tubbs, who, along with the rest of the outgoing members, had until yesterday to clean out her desk. “”As a result, it was a lot more emotional and draining than any other senate before.””

    Past student body presidents Gilbert Davidson, Ben Graff and Alistair Chapman introduced Hertzog as ASUA president, a position she has been filling as executive vice president since Bernsen’s leave of absence began in January.

    Chapman, ASUA president from 2004 to 2005, said the inauguration is an important ceremony and tradition within ASUA.

    “”It’s symbolic. It’s a launching pad for change,”” Chapman said.

    Graff, president from 2000 to 2001, passed on to Hertzog a red, white and blue track baton, the “”sacred spirit stick,”” which he said was given to ASUA by a track runner in the 1940s to symbolize the spirit of the UA.

    Graff said he was also going to give Hertzog an Arizona Daily Wildcat punching bag.

    Davidson, president from 1997 to 1998, gave Hertzog advice on forging a bond with newly elected President Robert Shelton and the incoming administration, as he did when Peter Likins took over for Manuel T. Pacheco during his ASUA presidency.

    “”It’s important for the student body president … to build that relationship that fills the needs of the students with the prerogatives of the administration,”” he said.

    Hertzog said the past ASUA presidents introduced her because of Bernsen’s absence, but that she was excited that three of the “”strongest”” past presidents could be there.

    She said she was thrilled to see a “”young and motivated”” incoming senate.

    The 10 senators sworn in were Lauren Conway, Jessica Anderson, Melodie Schwartz, Astrid Henao, Brian Hill, Shawn Ingram, Jen Dang, Jennifer Kerr, Mark Adams and Steven Gerner.

    Outgoing Sen. Matthew Boepple, who attended the ceremony, said he was optimistic about the new senate and said he advises senators not to be afraid of argument because “”debate is always good.””

    “”My advice would be to act independently of the executive, act as a check and take and stronger role,”” Boepple said.

    Tubbs said internal circumstances interfered with some of the things senators wanted to achieve this year, but the incoming senators will hopefully learn from them.

    “”This year, if we wanted to accomplish anything, we had to do it on our own instead of relying on ASUA for resources because they didn’t really exist,”” she said.

    Programs like Tubbs’ Laptop Loan program and CatsRidde shined a positive light on the year, but CatsRidde has had trouble getting off the ground because of a lack of student interest.

    Other programs that Bernsen campaigned on, like child-care facilities and solar panels, have gone uncompleted.

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