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Student government to focus on advocacy

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Toward the end of spring semester 2005, the Associated Student Federation Forum held an e-mail referendum, which called for revising its constitution.

With a response of 111 in favor of the referendum, and only 3 opposed, ASF will concentrate its efforts on creating a constitution and bylaws that focus on advocacy.

“The ASF referendum was just one piece of our process for the overall change of ASF,” Forum President Dana McJunkin said. “We brainstormed ways to jump into the change while keeping ASF working at the same time.”

The referendum consisted of two items. The first asked if students were in agreement with the transition process from a programming/activities board to an advocacy board. The second item called for an agreement on the transition team, which consists of Rida Fatima, Dana McJunkin, Michelle McPherson, Lindsey Nitta and Chris Skraba.

“They want to be the voice of the students, they want to move away from programming,” said Chip West, director of student life. “They want to be 100 percent focused on advocacy.”

The current constitution and bylaws call for the Forum to be focused on activities and advocacy. Since the new Campus Activities Board is now in charge of activities, ASF decided that it would be appropriate to have a new set of bylaws that matched its one goal.

“We did not suspend the constitution, but instead we suspended the bylaws,” McJunkin said. “The constitution is one of the items we are working to change this year.”

To get a new perspective on student government, ASF will be looking at other schools and will focus on how they are structured, beginning with a retreat this weekend.

While ASF will be focused on making this transition, that will not interfere the Forum’s other responsibilities, McJunkin said.

“The ASF Referendum was just one piece of our process for the overall change,” McJunkin said. “We brainstormed ways to jump into the change while keeping ASF working at the same time.”

A tentative timeline, which will be made public next week, will hold the transition team accountable. The Forum hopes to have a preliminary constitution ready for public review by late October or early November. It will also hold open forums to get student comments on the rewriting of the constitution from anyone.

In December and January, the transition team plans to analyze the feedback, make changes and have revisions ready by February for further review by students. The final constitution and bylaws should be ready for approval through referendum in March.

“I think ASF will have a good reputation this year,” West said. “It’s all going to be out in the open.”

While the Forum seems optimistic, some students remain skeptical.

“I don’t think they will be able to engage students at that level,” junior Manuel Lopez said. “Students are so apathetic about any issue.”

Andres Rivera can be reached at arivera3@ulv.edu
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