Senate bids legislative session adieu

With the zipping up of backpacks and the closing of laptops, it was over: the final meeting of the 2014-2015 ASUO Senate.

Senators were far from stagnant during their last minutes as a governing body. Wednesday’s meeting saw a sizable amount of money being moved, funds that will have no small impact on the student body over the next year.

The biggest chunk of money was the allocation from over-realized funds, which totaled $264,760. The over-realized committee brought a recommendation to Senate, which it formed by reviewing all submissions through a hearing process. Representatives from several of the groups were present at the meeting to contend for more funding for their requests.

Senator Hao Tan was the first to propose an amendment to the committee’s recommendation, by suggesting diverting funds from a request for bike shelters to add money to the trans conference and rowing team requests. Senate tossed around several ideas for how best to fund what, a discussion that escalated into shouting at several points. Senators-elect, although still unable to vote at this point, weighed in on the debate. Tan’s amendment passed, and shortly after, Senate passed the amended recommendation:

$40,000 for solar panels to be installed in the new EMU building

$3,560 for Conflict Resolution Week

$30,000 for the UO Rowing Club to get new rowing machines

$131,200 to be put towards a trans conference scheduled for next May

$10,000 for Women in Graduate Studies, to be put towards various programs

$10,000 to MEChA for a Diego Rivera art exhibit at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

$40,000 for free STD/HIV testing at the University Health Center

The senate meeting also featured 23 student groups returning funds to surplus.  For about 10 minutes, Sisk read all the return requests in what would be his longest and last motion he’s ever made during his three-year stint in senate.

The amount left in surplus for next year’s Senate ended up being $108,831.40.

Officers gave short speeches as they gave their updates, thanking their colleagues for a year of service. Senate president Rebecca Rhodes is graduating at the end of the term, but will preside over the last two meetings, which will be run by the senators elected this year.

“I did this job interview, and they asked me, ‘If you had to hire people for your own business, who would you hire?’ Rhodes said. “I really thought about senate because I know that there are a lot of hard working incredible people who are going off to do super awesome, amazing, things.”

Senators took pictures and hugged each other goodbye after the meeting was over.

Senate meetings are at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in the EMU Walnut Room. To learn more about the ASUO, visit its website.

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Kaylee Tornay

Kaylee Tornay

Kaylee is the Emerald's 2015-2016 Hiring and Training Director. Formerly an ASUO reporter for the News Desk and writer for the Arts and Culture Desk, Kaylee has also interned for the Medford Mail Tribune and freelanced for the Bend Bulletin.
Ask her to discuss local journalism or for tips on throwing shade at people who take up too much room on the sidewalk.