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Unanimously Fast: ASUO Senate Recap, 19 January 2011


Unanimity was the name of the game for the ASUO Student Senate Wednesday evening as they moved quickly through a light agenda during their weekly meeting in the EMU Walnut Room. With Sen. Evan Thomas taking over the chair for the evening, the body dispensed quickly with a $4000 special request from the Multicultural Center and the confirmation of Katherine DuPont to the open At-Large seat on the Programs Finance Committee, both by votes of 12 to zero.

The MCC made its request to help pay for the upcoming appearance of noted civil rights activist Angela Davis. The MCC had already raised $5000 of the funds necessary to pay Davis’ honorarium, a figure which included donations from the Women’s Center and the ASUO Executive. After minimal discussion, the request was unanimously approved. Davis will appear on Saturday, January 22, at 7 p.m. in Columbia Hall, room 150.

Senators next considered the appointment of Katherine DuPont to the PFC. DuPont had been previously appointed to Senate Seat One, but her appointment was rejected by the Senate, which later confirmed Sen. James Dos Santos to the slot. Questions about her course load and outside jobs, which had hampered her confirmation last time, were easily dispatched during this hearing. “ I plan on giving 110%. I’m here to help them,” explained DuPont.

PFC Chair Noah Wolf-Prusan told the Senate that her confirmation was important. “We really need Katherine… We need an extra body on the committee.” The PFC has been faced with two empty seats since Sen. Erin Altman’s resignation last week, putting pressure on the committee during crucial budget hearings. After making sure that her schedule had sufficient availability to accommodate the work of a PFC member, DuPont was confirmed unanimously.

The Senate then discussed potential revisions to the model by which stipends are allocated to ASUO officials, including Senators, Executive staff members, and others. While a number of senators thought a raise was in order, many were also open to the idea of an altogether new way of paying those working in student government. “We should definitely look into a tuition discount model,” said Sen. Janet Brooks, discussing a system wherein students within the ASUO would be provided with reduced tuition, instead of cash payments, in exchange for their service.

Many were concerned that the current stipend level was pricing students out of the opportunity to serve. Others, such as Sen. Kristina Harding, were worried that such an increase in compensation would cause a significant increase in the Incidental Fee. The concept was left open, to be returned to at a later date. After quick updates from officers and committees, including Sen. Chris Bocchicchio’s announcement that he intends to challenge the Constitution Court’s proposed rearrangement of constituencies for academic senators, the meeting was adjourned early , marking a second week running that Senate did not run over its allotted time.

A scheduled confirmation hearing for Lamar Wise, appointed to Senate Seat 10 (DFC), was postponed after it was discovered that the forms had not been filed in time.


Meeting Duration: 93 minutes (zero recesses)

Money allocated from Surplus: $4000

Not present: Sedgley, Powell, Schally

Resignation Count: Six


Not much to say here. I thank the Senate for their generous gift of a full night’s sleep, though it would seem to me that the speed with which the meeting progressed can be, in some way, attributed to Temp Chair Thomas’ relatively less stringent adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order. I won’t speak to the validity of that approach, it’s just sort of interesting to see that within the ASUO, an organization which usually values Robert’s Rules above the Bible.

I’ll admit it; I’m not an Angela Davis fan. I saw her speak at OSU when she was there a few years ago. She came off as being annoying at least and anti-American at most. I’m guessing her speech here will be similar to her address at OSU, and I know for a fact I will not be in attendance this Saturday.

As for the PFC appointment, Wolf-Prusan was right; PFC needs another member right now. Pretty much anyone with a pulse, a vague awareness of viewpoint neutrality and a clear schedule is a perfect fit. I don’t know if it was because they had been over it with her last term, but no one seemed to want to ask DuPont about viewpoint neutrality, a very important facet of life for finance committee members. She said during the meeting that she was intending to run for this very seat in the next election, so it will be interesting to see how she performs in the interim and if she will join a slate for the election.

For usually being staunchly conservative, I was surprised to see Sen. Kaitlyn Lange leading the charge to crank up stipends. I like the idea of a tuition discount model; it fairly directly addresses the issues that resigning Senators have been raising as motivations and costs less than putting Senators (and others) on a wage scale. The question is going to be how to pay for it. I think the university administration should foot the bill, because the alternative is, as Harding pointed out, a massive increase in the I-Fee. However, Vice-President Maneesh Arora pointed out that this approach runs the risk of the ASUO losing control over its own pay.

I think that a possible alternative is to research and negotiate a percentage of tuition reimbursement, reflective of the amount of tuition the student occupying the position is paying (to accommodate out of state students and part-timers), and incorporate that method of compensation and that percentage into the Clark Document. This will prevent the need for rewriting the stipend model every time tuition goes up, as the actual compensation will always reflect an set portion of actual educational costs. If there’s something I’m missing here that would throw this little plan off, please leave a comment letting me know.

  1. Voldemort says:

    ^ Your mom’s anus, mouth and vagina respectively.

  2. Jackson says:

    Where’s Bode, Papailiou, and that Dotters-Katz?

  3. Some paragraphs are friendly, some hostile. I resent your stereotyping of paragraphs.

  4. Miles Rost says:


    Paragraphs. They are your friend.

  5. A tuition discount model may not be the best option. Like Rockne said, students might be footing the bill through a much higher I-Fee, or, the ASUO could lose control over it’s own pay. Neither one of these options seem overwhelmingly exciting. Though I appreciate the ASUO for all the hard work they do, I personally don’t want to pay a higher I-Fee. Yet, there is a certain amount of accountability that comes with being student funded. It is a much different situation when we are paying someone to spend our money as opposed to them just spending our money. But I digress. Yes, it seems that the ASUO should be better compensated for their work but switching to a stipend model to curtail a massive increase in the I-Fee just sounds like a ploy for ASUO to have their own massive increase in pay. Not only is this unnecessary, it will attract the wrong applicants. From what I understand, ASUO is about gaining experience and serving others, not about the pay. Which leads me to my next point; while tuition discount model is understandable to some extent, a full tuition would simply be egregious (just for the record, not that it was proposed). The work ASUO does is valuable, but at $1848 (undergrad)/$4041(grad) per senator, someone would be footing a damn big bill. Here’s the other piece though, and correct me if I’m wrong but it seems that like graduate teaching fellowships and staff tuition, a tuition discount would have to be factored into the senators cost of attendance therefore increasing that students expected family contribution which would reflect in that students financial aid award, thus defeating the original purpose of the tuition discount model- to better compensate the ASUO. If in fact, it the discount doesn’t affect ones EFC then in essence it is the same as a stipend increase, the student is receiving the money, just via a refund check. The only difference would if the administration picks up the bill. Perhaps a more complicated but more equitable option would be a mixture of both models. The ASUO would receive their normal stipend and on top of that a marginal tuition discount (this would work best if the admin paid for the tuition discount). Here, the ASUO would still (mostly) be funded by students, yet they would receive additional compensation for their service. The model could further be developed to reward those who put in more hours, say a Senator that averaged 20 hours in the office would get $50 more than the senator that worked 15 hours a week on average. This would encourage senators to work more but the incentive wouldn’t be large enough for them to log in extra hours just to get extra hours. Alas, we still run into the problem of EFC, so perhaps that’s not a solution either. Thoughts?

  6. Rockne Andrew Roll says:

    So the answer to my question (“I don’t know if it was because they had been over it with her last term…”) was apparently a resounding “yes, it was because we went over it last term.” The absence of the question was nothing more than a curiosity to me, as its the first confirmation hearing I’ve seen or heard about where VN was not even mentioned.

    I regret the error, which has since been corrected.

  7. Katherine DuPont says:

    First, you spelled my name wrong in your opinion. It’s Du Pont not Du Point.

    Second, I was already asked about viewpoint neutrality and I have the exact same understanding and definition that I did three months ago. I will make decisions towards the success of the group no matter what my personal opinion of the group is or what they stand for. It is about trusting the process rather than our own opinions to guide us.

    Why waste time asking questions they know I know and focus on the real question which was my time commitment? I appreciate the Senate for reading the letter I wrote as well as asking me right off the bat about commitments, which helped them come to a quick motion to vote.

  8. Gower says:

    such a fan of tuition reimbursement, though it’s hard to justify (or implement) unless the administration absorbed the costs.

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