A.S. hears referral, postpones vote

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The president of Associated Students issued a legislative referral to the University Affairs Committee Tuesday, urging the group to begin exploring options to enhance the student experience at CSUN.

Another action item up for vote was postponed because the Senate could not come to a decision on it.

A.S. President Chad Charton cited an absence of campus spirit as one of the main reasons for the referral.

According to A.S., the organization and university administration have repeatedly raised the issue of the lack of spirit and pride on campus.

Charton’s goal is for the University Affairs Committee to begin the preliminary process of exploring options to enhance the student experience through a series of campus spirit and pride initiatives.

“I would very much like to be part of the process,” Charton said.

An ad-hoc committee consisting of student, faculty and staff representatives will be established in order to review possible options to achieve these goals.

According to Charton, after discussing the lack of spirit and pride issues with Terry Piper, vice president for Student Affairs, the university agreed to invest $25,000 toward the initiative.

“This is a big deal,” Charton said. “It’s going to be influential and significant.”

Additionally, an action item that went through several different motions before finally being postponed stirred up discussion among Senate members.

The Finance Committee voted to allocate $0 from the unallocated reserves A.S. account to the Student Development and International Programs department for the purpose of sending a CSUN student who is also the attorney general for A.S. to the National Orientation Directors Association Conference, scheduled for Nov. 5-8.

According to the NODAC website, the conference is designed as an outstanding opportunity for first-time attendees, undergraduate and graduate students, advancing professionals, established professionals and associate members to strengthen their craft through educational sessions, motivational dialog and connections with colleagues. Attendees from CSUN use what they learn at the conference to train orientation leaders responsible for freshmen orientation.

In response to the $0 recommendation, Vice President Safa Sajadi introduced a motion that would have allocated $480 to Student Development and International Programs to send a student to the conference.

“Traditionally we do not fund students from other departments for (the purpose of) attending conferences,” said Bryanne Knight, A.S. director of finance.

Sajadi’s motion was called to a vote and failed to pass.

In response, Sajadi introduced another motion, this time asking that $400 be allocated.

In the past, funding for individuals wishing to attend the conference came from their individual departments, according to Knight. In this particular case however, the funds were requested because a student, Hamid Jahangard, A.S. attorney general, sought to attend the conference and needed the funds to do so.

“This is the future of our university,” Sajadi said, referring to new student orientation’s role in the first year experience. “The first year experience is the most important.”

Again, Sajadi’s motion was called to a vote, and for a second time failed to pass.

Three subsequent motions were proposed asking to allocate funds with a decrease in the dollar amount with each motion, prompting further discussion both in support and against the motions.

“The students are the ones that run the orientation program,” said Bina Pai, Science and Mathematics II senator. “I think that it’s important that a student attends (the conference).”

“We have a budget language and want to take into account what has been done in the past,” said Victor Morales, Social and Behavioral Sciences II senator.

The differing views divided the senate, and each of the motions failed to pass.

Eventually, Lower Division I Senator Chante Felix proposed a motion to postpone the action item for two weeks, when it will be brought up for another round of voting.

Michael Salseda can be reached at michael.salseda@gmail.com.