Councilmembers Run On About Rules, Regulations

Perhaps it was the recent release of the candidates for the 2006-07 A.S. elections that contributed to a politically charged and unruly March 1 council meeting. Or, perhaps it could have been another change of room and a last-minute switch of Eleanor Roosevelt College Senior Senator Ashton Iranfar for Vice President Internal Angela Fornero. Whatever the reason, the nearly three-hour meeting was wrought with conflict, accusations and argument over fee referenda, community-service travel funding and the potential creation of another student-run funding board to handle college festivals.

Earl Warren College sophomore Eddie Herrera and Warren senior Daniel Watts announced during public input that they were petitioning for a fee referendum that would allocate a $3.50-per-quarter increase for the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services program.

“The A.S. has in many instances ignored myself and other members of the community who have provided critique of their policies,” Herrera said.

Watts, on the other hand, claimed appreciation for the inclusion of the resolution on the council’s agenda, seemingly unaware that it had actually been removed from consideration by the submitter, A.S. President Christopher Sweeten.

Although that particular referendum was not introduced at the meeting, the council did ultimately approve a $9-per-quarter referendum for the A.S. programming office to be voted on in the upcoming election. Of course, this was the end result — only being passed after 20 minutes of confusion about the wording, and argument over the mere idea of fee increases and substitution of “he or she” for the grammatically incorrect pronoun “they.”

“I think this is why some people hate A.S.,” John Muir College Council Chair Neil Spears remarked after he was told his amendment would make the resolution too wordy. “We’re arguing about grammar.”

But, the arguing didn’t stop during council caucus, a discussion on whether or not the Student Organizations Funding Advisory Board should be in charge of handling funding requests for college festivals.

John Muir College Senior Senator Conrad Ohashi, a member of SOFAB, explained that the board is not accustomed to handling budgets of college festival magnitude. The idea of creating a board specifically for these festivals — a “COFAB” — was proposed, but did not sit well with certain councilmembers.

“Don’t fix something that isn’t completely broken,” said Vice President Finance Greg Murphy, speaking in his opposition to the COFAB.

Ultimately, it was decided that the concept of college funding — as well as funding of community service events held off campus — needed to be reviewed further before any policy could be changed.

Meanwhile, the level of “side chatter” in the smaller room seemed to have taken its toll on Iranfar, with upwards of six cries for “order!” and constant banging of a makeshift gavel on the table. With the appeals process for SOFAB allocations promising a very lengthy next meeting, one can only pray that the gavel will find its way to Fornero upon her return.