The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

81° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ASUA denies PIRG funding

Hallie Bolonkin / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Joie Horwitz, a freshman majoring in journalism and media arts and a member of PIRG is requesting ASUA to vote in favor of a special election during the senate meeting yesterday. PIRG seeks to propose a $1.50 refundable fee that would go towards lawyers and advocates for the organization, which was turned down by the senate that day 6 to1.
Hallie Bolonkin
Hallie Bolonkin / Arizona Daily Wildcat Joie Horwitz, a freshman majoring in journalism and media arts and a member of PIRG is requesting ASUA to vote in favor of a special election during the senate meeting yesterday. PIRG seeks to propose a $1.50 refundable fee that would go towards lawyers and advocates for the organization, which was turned down by the senate that day 6 to1.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona senate voted Wednesday six to one against a request from the Arizona Public Interest Research Groups to hold a special election.

PIRG is a nonprofit, non-partisan, student-run public interest advocacy group that requested ASUA to hold a special election for students to vote on a $1.50 per semester refundable student fee. The fee would go toward hiring advocates and lawyers to help PIRG run grassroots campaigns on campus and lobby on the university’s behalf.

“”It’s that professional staff that really makes PIRG something special, and that’s really where the fee goes,”” said Nicholas Theisen, a business administration master’s student and PIRG member. 

PIRG’s fee proposal did not make it onto the ASUA general elections ballot on March 9.

Sen. Leo Yamaguchi voted in favor of the special election at Wednesday’s meeting.

“”We should leave it up to the fate of the students at the University of Arizona, not to us,”” Yamaguchi said. “”I don’t see the harm in allowing this.””

Sen. James Brooks abstained from voting and Sen. Hilary Davidson was absent from the meeting.

Sen. Daniel Wallace said students voted against PIRG’s requested $2 refundable fee in spring 2009. Wallace also said PIRG did not make it onto this year’s general election ballot.

“”It was voted on, it didn’t pass, and there weren’t enough petition signatures to get on the regular election ballot, so I would encourage that PIRG try to get the required number of signatures next year,”” Wallace said. “”It seems to me that the student population is not in favor of a fee for PIRG.””

Sen. Stephen Wallace expressed concern with the amount of time that PIRG has been on campus. Arizona PIRG has been on the UA campus for four years.

“”I love this cause, but I want to see more longevity before a fee is proposed from a special election,”” Stephen Wallace said.

Sen. Tyler Quillin expressed an admiration for PIRG’s persistence.

“”Every time we turn around, we know that you’re there, and we appreciate that,”” Quillin said.  “”We’re astounded that you guys keep crawling back every time, and that’s phenomenal.””

PIRG president Christine Donley said the group may continue to seek approval for a student fee.

“”The senators are making decisions that they think are the best for the student body, and that’s what they’re there for,”” Donley said. “”I personally feel like I could have done a better job explaining the cause and defending my argument.””

It is possible that PIRG will bring the fee proposal to the Arizona Board of Regents.

“”I don’t know as to how we will proceed, but it’s definitely not the last of us,”” Donley said.

In addition to vetoing the PIRG election request, the senate made amendments to the wording of its bylaws, ratified the 2010-11 election results, allocated $3,254.46 to club funding on the consent agenda and approved the $300 request for funding to cover senate transition and administrative costs.

More to Discover
Activate Search