AASU no longer a Student Government Agency

Spinnaker

Student Government scheduled an emergency meeting March 7, where the Senate passed a bill to change the African American Student Union from a Student Government agency to a part of Student Affairs. 

This decision comes after the AASU marched and protested the decision to appoint Torey McCleskey as its assistant director Feb. 16. Student Body President Sitou Byll-Cataria held a forum to discuss McCleskey’s hiring Feb. 18, but many students felt no solution came from the meeting.

The legislation said “The African American Student Union is being removed from Agency status and needs to be deleted from the Executive Agency Statute.”

The bill passed with a unanimous vote from the senators.

“AASU’s constitution didn’t fit well with the constitution of Student Government,” Byll-Cataria said. “An agency shouldn’t be serving only a section of the student body. Strange it took us this much time to realize that.”

The AASU joined Student Government as an agency in 1994 and will now be shifted to Student Affairs as a part of the Intercultural Center for Peace.

The Senate also passed a change to the 2010-2011 Budget Provisionary Language, which states that in the event the AASU becomes an office within Student Affairs, the AASU will continue to receive its Activity and Service Fees allocated funding through June 30.

For the next six years, unless the university administration picks up the funding in whole or part for the African American Student Union Office, SG will continue to fund at the current allocations of $39,047 for OPS wages, $500 for salary (police coverage) and $12,290 for operating expenses.

AASU also anticipates additional funding from Student Affairs, Cataria said.

Senators raised questions about where funding for AASU would come from after six years.

“AASU can come special request for additional funds at SG just like any other Student Affairs office,” said Student Government Director of Operations Betty Garris. “They have been a part of us for 17 years, the least we can do is help.”

AASU Director Joanna Hillman said she feels this decision is better for the whole student body.

“We will be given more freedom as part of Student Affairs, we will be able to make our own decisions,” Hillman said.

With the new freedom AASU will have, it cannot relieve McCleskey of his duties, Cataria said. AASU will shift with the board of members elected currently.

Check out an exclusive interview with SG President Sitou Byll-Cataria here: