Referendum to go before student vote

On March 4, the A.S. Council approved the placement of a referendum on the spring ballot, which asks students to approve changes to the council’s structure. Approved by a vote of 13-6-4, senators decided that students should vote on possible changes to their representative body.

Currently, there are 24 college senators who vote on the A.S. Council. Serving on both the campuswide body and their own college council, each senator is elected by students at a single college to represent that specific college and grade level.

If passed, the referendum would reduce the number of college senators from 24 to 12. It would also create six campuswide senators who would be elected by the entire university. In addition, one first-year senator from each college, who would not serve on college councils, would be appointed by the A.S. Council at the start of each academic year. If approved by two-thirds of the voting student body, the changes would take effect in the spring 2006 general election.

The referendum needed the approval of two-thirds of the senators in order to be put on the ballot. This was narrowly achieved when the dissenting vote of John Muir College Senior Senator Arman Depanian, which was sent by e-mail, was rejected by the mail server. As a result of the error, his vote was counted as an abstention, allowing the referendum to be put before the students.

University of Colorado president resigns

University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman said she will voluntarily step down from her position at the end of June. Hoffman will end a five-year term, during which the university has faced several national controversies including allegations that the school’s football program used sex and alcohol to recruit players and outrage over a professor’s comments.

“It has become clear to me that, amid the serious matters the University of Colorado now confronts, my role as the leader of the university has become an issue,” Hoffman stated in a March 7 letter of resignation to the CU Board of Regents. “It appears to me it is in the university’s best interest that I remove the issue of my future from the debate so that nothing inhibits CU’s ability to successfully create the bright future it so deserves.”

In addition to ending her leadership of the 52,000-student system, Hoffman said the university would not fire controversial professor Ward Churchill, who drew fire for comparing victims of the Sept. 11 attack to Nazis.

“If we could all go back to events that began early last year, I am sure we would make different decisions,” regents’ Chair Jerry Rutledge stated in a press release from the board. “But today, I greatly admire President Hoffman’s difficult decision, one in which she placed CU well above her personal accomplishments and long-term aspirations.”

Though he praised Hoffman’s “strong will” and “steady hand,” Rutledge said he agreed with her decision.

UC announces final offer to clerical union

In an attempt to avert a labor dispute, the University of California said it has offered its final compromise to end a years-long dispute with its 18,000 clerical workers.

The university has been in negotiations with the Coalition of Union Employees since July 2003 to resolve union complaints over wages, benefits and parking.

The university proposal falls short of C.U.E.’s demand for across-the-board salary increases. However, the deal would provide a 10-percent increase for police dispatchers at UC Irvine and a 2-percent hike for clerical workers in the UCSD Medical Center’s nutrition services department.

“Lack of state funding has prevented the university from offering across-the-board increases to employees throughout the UC system, including clerical workers, for the last two years,” the university stated in a press release. “As a result, salaries for many employee groups throughout the UC system are lagging behind the market.”

Grant to help reteach national anthem

In an effort to help Americans relearn the words to the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the government’s National Endowment for the Arts has announced plans to spend $25,000 on a grant for the National Anthem Project.

Run by the National Association for Music Education, the world’s largest arts education group, the multi-year project is designed to increase knowledge of the anthem’s lyrics.

The campaign was launched after findings from a recent poll suggested that two-thirds of Americans do not know the words to the song and that many are not aware of the historical events that inspired it.