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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA shoots down board decision

    ASUA President Erin Hertzog, left, explains the reasoning behind her first veto of the year yesterday afternoon in the Agave Room at the Student Union Memorial Center. The veto caused the Appropriations Board to reconsider denying funding to the Medical Students for Choice.
    ASUA President Erin Hertzog, left, explains the reasoning behind her first veto of the year yesterday afternoon in the Agave Room at the Student Union Memorial Center. The veto caused the Appropriations Board to reconsider denying funding to the Medical Students for Choice.

    The Associated Students of the University of Arizona Appropriations Board allocated $1,436.36 to the Medical Students for Choice last night after ASUA President Erin Hertzog vetoed the board’s original decision to deny the pro-choice group any funding.

    Funding was originally denied based on an ASUA bylaw that prohibits funding an event or organization that has already received $500 or more from another university source, said Sen. Shawn Ingram, chair of the Appropriations Board.

    MSFC, a student pro-choice group, was given more than this amount by the Medical Student Government, which Ingram said he interpreted as a service run by the university thus the board ruled to deny funding.

    Gabriel Sarah, a second-year medical student and president of the MSFC, said he felt the decision to deny funding was based on the personal beliefs of certain members involved with the Appropriations Board, including Ingram and club advocate Tom Connor, an undeclared sophomore.

    “”It’s very clear to anyone looking in that this was a selective decision based on the personal beliefs of a few members associated with the Appropriations Board,”” Sarah said. “”It was 100 percent unjustified and unprofessional.””

    But Hertzog, who used her first veto of the year against the decision, said she believes the bylaw was misinterpreted and does not consider the Medical Student Government a university affiliate, but rather a student organization, which is not regulated by the university.

    “”These bylaws were put in place because of organizations on campus that received annual funding from departments on campus,”” Hertzog said.

    Additionally, Hertzog said, another ASUA rule states that any academic endeavor is exempted from the bylaw.

    “”I was speaking with the club president and noticed misinterpretations in the reasons for denial of funding,”” Hertzog said. “”The club issued an appeal after their request was denied and it was not attended to, so I felt this was the best way to get immediate action.””

    Medical Students for Choice originally requested nearly $3,000 to fund an excursion to St. Petersburg, Fla., to learn the latest in women’s medical health procedures, including abortion techniques.

    “”It’s very frustrating to me because students can’t learn abortion procedures at UMC,”” Sarah said. “”This is the only way that we receive abortion training. We are the only medical school in the state, and we need to be able to find and train doctors to provide abortions.””

    But Ingram said the decision to deny funding was not based on personal beliefs, but on ASUA rules.

    “”(Medical Students for Choice feels) like even if medical student government were considered a university entity, they should still be viewed as an academic club going on an academic endeavor,”” Ingram said, adding that it is unclear whether or not the club is considered academic because it is political in nature.

    This is the second time recently the Appropriations Board has been accused of ruling based on personal beliefs. Last week, participants in “”The Vagina Monologues”” told the ASUA Senate they were denied funding because Appropriations Board members did not agree with messages in the play.

    The ASUA Senate overturned the Appropriations Board’s denial of funds for “”The Vagina Monologues.””

    “”We are taking care of our process with checks and balances to fix our flaws,”” Hertzog said. “”In this case, I believe the reasons for why funding was denied were flawed and that this event is something that we should fund. It is a worthy cause.””

    The money received from last night’s ruling will fund the airline expenses of at least three medical students as they attend the conference.

    “”Opportunities like this are crucial and helps us stay competitive in this field,”” said Laura Mercer, a member of the MSFC. “”We are thankful to have had the opportunity to be heard by the board.””

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