BUS speaks out on referendum

Amadeus Smith

With all platforms aside, members of Black United Students wanted to hear explanations behind the newly proposed Undergraduate Student Senate referendum.

BUS member Dylan Sellers, freshman political science major, said the USS referendum for Charter Review – which pertains to incorporating the All Campus Programming Board into USS – will, in theory, expand the senate to a larger group, the Undergraduate Student Government.

John Wetmore, senator for governmental affairs candidate, said he is always for diversity in student government but isn’t sure about ACPB working with $200,000 – about half of the amount it usually allocates to various groups.

According to ACPB’s Web site, the referendum “strips ACPB of its autonomy as a student organization.”

Sellers said passing the referendum will jeopardize proper use of the funds.

“You never give one person control of everything,” he said. “Although I’m voting for Preston Mitchum, I don’t want him to have all the power.”

BUS president Sasha Parker said the ideas behind the proposal are to promote a greater representation of groups but the proposal exhibits hypocrisy because it expands the senate and downsizes allocations.

Parker said she believes that original drafts of the document didn’t include enough about diversity, considering the main goal was representation.

“At first, there wasn’t a director of diversity,” she said. “The first draft included a committee for diversity.”

She said the original document didn’t give the diversity groups a face to represent them in the senate.

Parker said she didn’t mind who represented the diversity groups as long as it wasn’t a white male. She explained that all diverse groups are fighting for the same things and thus could properly represent one another.

“I’m not Hispanic, but I can relate with S.A.L.S.A.,” she said.

According to the USS Web site, the new draft states the new senate will include six senator positions to represent diversity. Representatives will include on and off-campus students, international students and non-traditional students.

Overall, Parker said she is afraid this proposal will spark a trend in USS where the group decides to take control of more groups as they are doing with ACPB. She said she is afraid that one day, they will decide to take responsibility for BUS.

BUS members were also concerned about the removal of permanent seats from USS Allocation Committee. Parker said the group not only assists other groups financially but provides “manpower.”

“They make sure things come together,” she said. “That’s what they do.”

Parker and others attending the meeting agreed the referendum was produced by individuals who do not understand students’ needs.

“I feel like senate is going around, making changes without understanding why things are the way they are,” Parker said.

The USS candidates who attended the meeting were:

• Elizabeth Eckels, student relations

• Michael Hammond, research and development

• April Samuelson, student relations

• Bethany Taylor, research and development

• Theodore Trimm, student advancement

• Alicia Weaver, academic affairs

• John Wetmore, governmental affairs

Contact minority affairs reporter Amadeus Smith at [email protected].