Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Senator Emily Huang said that the Women in Business’s request, part of which was already paid for, may have caused senators to feel like they were pressured to “go along with [the request].” It was actually Senator Blair Toy who made this statement.
ASUO senators revoted on a student request after rejecting it during an ASUO senate meeting on Oct. 13.
The group initially turned down the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association’s request for funds to attend a networking conference. However after the group’s representatives left the room, senators then unanimously passed it in a rare revote. The decision to vote again came from many senators feeling that the group’s request was voted on unfairly.
APALSA asked for $3,000 for five members to attend the 2016 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Nov. 3 conference in San Diego, where the club’s members would be able to network with judges, law professors and law students. However, some senators took issue with the hotel and flight costs behind going to the conference. Hotel costs were $250 per student, totaling $1,500 for three nights. Four students were taking flights, which cost $300 for each student, totaling $1,200.
A spokesperson for the group responded at the senate meeting that due to large turnouts for the event (the event website states that 1,600 are expected to attend), the group’s members found hotel prices surrounding the convention to be high. Senator Pablo Alvarez suggested looking into Airbnb as an alternative, saying that he has found prices in the $100 to $150 range. In regards to flight costs, Senator Thompson suggested flying into Santa Ana and taking a car to the convention, saying that flights from Portland to San Diego are significantly higher. APALSA had hoped to raise more than the $300 it had fundraised by reaching out to the University of Oregon School of Law, but it did not allow funding for out-of-state conferences.
The request initially failed with the senators voting eleven “yes,” three “nays” and eight abstentions.
Senator Hao Tan thought that the use of abstaining was abused, “you really only abstain if you have personal conflicts in the matter,” he told the other senators.
Several other senators voiced concerns that the request had similarities to one made earlier in the meeting: The Women in Business group had requested $9,000 to go to a networking event in San Jose, which senators passed 16-3-2. The differences were that the latter asked for $9,000, were sending 15 members, had flights costing $206 per person and hotel reservations costing $171 per person for five nights. Also, the Women in Business group had already booked their flight tickets. Senator Blair Toy said that this may have caused senators to feel like they were pressured to “go along with [the request].”
At the end of the meeting, the senators voted again for APALSA’s request, which they passed unanimously.
It wasn’t only the Women in Business group which paid for what it was requesting before attending the meeting. The International Business Association ordered $797 for 30 sweatshirts to use as uniform during its upcoming Stock Simulation Competition, and would not be able to afford sweatshirts without funding. The problem was resolved when the Senator Burns suggested to give them the $797, but require IBA to change their order for T-shirts, and return what they do not use to the ASUO funds.
The senate made large cuts to requests, including reducing the Men’s Center’s $9,816 request to $5,174, and UO Miracle’s $5,135 to $2,600. However, by the end of the meeting, the senate had spent a larger-than-average $30,840.