ASB reflects on semester, holds final meeting

Posted on Nov 28 2018 - 5:50am by Hadley Hitson

The Associated Student Body Senate created an ASB cabinet position for Veterans Affairs and confirmed a new ASB Treasurer  last night at its final meeting of the semester.

“I want this position to facilitate more involvement between ASB and veterans,” one of the Veterans Affairs bill’s authors Sen. Winston Taylor said of the new cabinet position. “I want it to help with the disconnect between administration and veterans here on campus.”

Taylor said he is the only veteran currently involved in ASB, and he believes the creation of this position will show other veterans that their voices matter to Ole Miss.

Gianna Schuetz, who was named ASB Treasurer last night, also hopes to make changes to her department of student government, specifically by making student organizations more aware of the funds available to them and raising the $4,000 semester limit per organization. She is replacing Jonathan Cox, former treasurer who is leaving for an internship in New York during the spring semester.

“Communication is what is most important,” Schuetz said. “A lot of organizations still don’t realize that they can get funding from ASB, so what’s most important to me is letting everyone know that they can get the funding they need.”

The most heavily contested piece of legislation passed by the senate last night was the approval of the division of central residential parking into two separate parking zones. After heavy debate, he resolution failed by a vote of 14-30. The idea for this resolution came from the chancellor’s standing committee on traffic and parking, which Sen. Sarah Doty, co-author of the resolution, is a member of.

When asked if the authors had spoken with constituents who may be affected by this change, Doty said they had not.

“I think this really feels like a band-aid on the parking issue, and I think that we shouldn’t remove any pressure from the university to fix our parking issue,” Sen. Anna Hall said after noting that she had spoken to constituents who will live on Rebel Drive next year.

The senate unanimously passed two other resolutions last night. The first was authored by Sens. Corbin Fox and Hannah Chauvin, and urges the university to expand the supplemental instruction program to include more subject areas.

“Grades of people who go to SI on an average basis, not just the day before the test, are generally much higher than those who don’t,” Fox said.

Senators unanimously passed a resolution written by the Panhellenic senators to express ASB’s support of the Epsilon Zeta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity in the wake of the chapter’s charter being revoked by their national Grand Council.

This final senate meeting of the fall wraps up a semester of reform, resignation and resolutions within the student government.

“Throughout my years on the ASB, a refrain I have heard over and over again is that ASB is a closed-off, exclusive organization that exists to cater to the few,” President Elam Miller said. “I believe the primary accomplishments of the ASB this semester are all oriented towards changing this perception.”

At the start of the semester, ASB faced its first resignation as Katherine Sistrunk stepped down from her position of Attorney General to direct an election reform task force focusing on student voter turnout in national elections.

“Katherine selflessly stepping down for the betterment of student government and our university culture set the tone that everyone deserves an equal playing field when it comes to running for any position on campus, whether that’s Miss Ole Miss or ASB President,” Miller said.

This was also the first year that student government named a Director of Voter Registration and Elections. In this role, Jarrius Adams worked with the senate to pass two resolutions calling for the university to cancel classes on election days and to create an on-campus polling place.

Miller said the student government is working through the various university bureaucracies to see these initiatives through. However, over the semester, several senators have said that resolutions often lack the permanence of other methods.

Other prominent events within ASB this semester include the decision to delay adding a homecoming king to the court until next fall, the senate’s request that the university add an “A plus” to the grading system and the holding of the university’s first Ole Miss family meeting that discussed the Confederate symbols remaining on campus.

“There are still improvements to be made,” Miller said. “ASB must continually listen to underrepresented groups on campus and work more closely with those groups in order to make sure that their voices are influential in the decision-making process.”