Troopers make arrest in 1993 Bartlett Hall cold case murder

 

Sophie Sergie. Photo courtesy of Alaska State Troopers.

Alaska State Troopers arrested 44-year-old Steven Harris Downs in Auburn, Maine on Friday for the 1993 murder and sexual assault of Sophie Sergie in a UAF dormitory bathroom.

“This arrest is the culmination of [over 20] years of effort and tenacious attention by this department to solve a horrendous murder,” said Amanda Price, Department of Public Safety Commissioner at a news conference Friday afternoon.  

Downs has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault. He will be extradited for prosecution in Alaska.

Steven Harris Downs was arrested Friday, Feb. 15 in Auburn, Maine. Photo courtesy of Androscoggin County Jail.

 

20-year-old Sergie made plans to return home to Pitkas Point after her stay with her friend, Shirley Wasuli, in Fairbanks for an orthodontic appointment. She disappeared after midnight to smoke a cigarette next to the exhaust vent in the tub room off the main bathroom area because it was cold outside. Case investigator Sgt. Jim McCann said Sergie was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

A custodian found Sergie’s body in the second-floor bathtub of UAF’s Bartlett Hall in the early afternoon of April 26, 1993. She lay strewn in a pool of blood, pants at her ankles, with facial stab wounds and the fatal bullet of a .22 caliber in the back of her head. No one recalled hearing the gunshot.

The original News-Miner story on the 1993 murder. Photo courtesy of The Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

At 18, Downs was a UAF student living in Bartlett Hall and working as a university security guard with his roommate, Nicholas Dazar. Dazar was interviewed in 2010 after investigators learned he was fired for possessing a firearm in the dorm. He did not own a .22-caliber revolver at the time he lived in Bartlett Hall, but as he told investigators, his 1993 roommate did. Forensic scientists confirmed the bullet from the crime scene would have been fired from such a gun.

Downs was identified as a suspect in the cold case through the use of genetic genealogy. An investigator for Alaska State Troopers’ Cold Case Investigation Unit decided to try the technique in July 2018, after its use to identify and arrest the suspected Golden State Serial Killer. Blood relatives of suspects are found by comparing DNA collected at crime scenes to that submitted to public genealogy databases. Such DNA technology was not used in Alaska in 1993, rendering the DNA found on Sergie’s body useless for 26 years.

Downs had been working as a registered nurse in Maine and was noted with disciplinary action and unprofessional conduct. In the days leading to his arrest, Downs still denied knowing Sergie and stated he was with his girlfriend most of the night she was killed. He told authorities he “remember[s] the pictures, it’s terrible, poor girl.” He also said if he had known anything he would have come forward immediately. Downs voiced his suspicions of Ft. Wainwright soldiers to troopers “repeatedly” as they were “often in the building.”

With the help of Maine authorities, AST later arrested Downs and he is set to for transfer to Alaska to face justice.

“The impact of [the] murder was felt statewide,” Price said. “The many investigators who have continued to work this case never let the loss of Sophie leave their mind.”

According to AST Director Barry Wilson, “Justice for Sophie is finally within reach.”




What You Can Do About The Budget Cuts: An Open Letter To The UA Student Body

On Feb. 13, Gov. Mike Dunleavy released his budget proposal for 2020. This included a 40 percent budget cut for the UA System. This would cause significant damage to UAF, UAA, and UAS.

In an effort to balance out some of the lost money, tuition would rise. Undergraduate tuition is a massive driver in the current American student loan crisis and many Alaskan residents choose the UA system because it is incredibly more affordable than universities down south. What happens when tuition is increased? Will some students need to take out more student loans? Will others be forced to drop out? Neither idea is favorable.

At the same time that tuition is rising, the quality of education would be falling. Take a look at any program and you’ll see potential places for a budget cut. Historically, humanities are hit hardest, but students in STEM will also be affected. Fewer classes will be offered, increasing class size and raising the teacher to student ratio. Non-essential programs will be downsized or shut down. There will likely be a drop in student work positions offered, leaving many current student employees without a means of income. Additionally, students living on campus will see a significant rise in the cost of their housing.

Fortunately, students do not have to go quietly along with this. State representatives rely on the votes of their constituents and are therefore bound to take their constituents’ opinions into consideration. In a state as small as Alaska, every vote matters and individual residents hold more influence over their representatives than an individual in a more populated state.

It takes less than ten minutes to contact your representative and make your voice heard. Each district has a representative — if you don’t know what district you are from, Google it. Find your house and senate representatives and call them. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation. A short and sweet minute-long call is all it takes. If it helps you, you can write out what you want to say.

If you don’t feel like calling your representative, you can send them a letter. They should have their address to their Juneau office listed. Buy a $1 postcard from Walmart or the campus bookstore, write two sentences on the back of it, and stop by a post office to mail it out. A postcard stamp is 35 cents. If you send one to your senator and one to your house representative, that’s only $2.70 spent. For less than three dollars, you can support the University of Alaska system and potentially save yourself thousands of dollars.

Democracy relies on participation. Make your voice heard.

 

Morgan Wilhelm




Proposed university budget could lead to loss of programs and campuses

On February 13th, Governor Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget for the 2020 fiscal year went public.  Included in this proposal was a $134 million decrease in the operating budget for the University of Alaska system from the current fiscal year.  This would drop the budget by about 41% from what is currently available, leaving the university with a budget of $193 million.  In an email concerning the proposed budget changes, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen discussed the drastic negative effect they would have on the University of Alaska.

“Cuts at this level cannot simply be managed or accommodated,” stated Johnsen. “If this budget passes the legislature, it will devastate university programs and services, and the negative effects will be felt in communities across the entire state.”

This is far from the first time that the university system has faced budget cuts in recent years.  Johnsen discussed the impact recent cuts have had on the university’s operations during a press conference on February 13th.

“UA has taken cuts four out of the last five years, we’ve laid off over 1,200 faculty and staff, we have cut over 50 academic and degree certificate programs.  We have been forced to raise tuition and we have watched our enrollment decline. So we know how it is, how cuts can be managed, and we know the negative impacts that cuts have on us, on our students, on employers of our students, on communities where our people live, and on our state.” Johnsen said.  “A cut this big, though, can’t simply be managed while maintaining campuses and services and programs across Alaska.”

In the past, the university system has faced multiple removals and combinings of programs.  However, with the amended budget proposed by Governer Dunleavy, university programs might not be the only thing being cut to make ends meet.  Many employees of the university would lose their jobs, enough that entire departments or even campuses would be affected.

“I am confident we’ll need to close campuses if this budget makes it all the way through the legislative process.” stated Johnsen.  “Again, we’ll need to eliminate a lot of programs, we will reduce services, no question about that.”

Elaborating on the magnitude of the cut, Johnsen compared it to the costs of running campuses around the state of Alaska.  “We have thirteen community campuses across the state, that’s only $38 million there.  Closing all of our community campuses is just $38 million, that’s not even a third of what this cut is.  All of UAA is $120 million, so closing the entire UAA campus does not meet this cut.”

“As a result of these proposed budget cuts we are heading into an extremely uncertain time.  There are going to be a lot of discussions, there’s going to be lots of options on the table, there are going to be lists with programs and names, and so a lot of uncertainty going forward.” stated Johnsen, acknowledging the difficult path ahead for the University.

In his closing remarks, Johnsen encouraged cooperation among the members of the University of Alaska system, as well as hope for the future.

“There will be a University of Alaska next year, and ten years from now, and twenty years from now.  Our state needs us, we may be less of what we are today but our state absolutely needs us.  And so what we need to focus on during this time is students, and our mission.” Johnsen continued, “And we also need to take care of each other.  What often happens in difficult organizational climates like we’re heading into is people start cheating inwards.  Elbows get real sharp, and there’s a lot of anxiety and tension and competition within the organization.”

If you wish to contact Governer Dunleavy concerning these budget cuts, you can do so at the official Office of the Governor page located here.




Police Blotter: Jan 31 – Feb 10

Welfare Check
1/31/2019  12:01 a.m. – A person that had run out into Tanana Loop Road and was stumbling around was transported to their off-campus residence.

2/9/2019  5:27 a.m. – A caller from McIntosh Hall could not give their name or address, but called asking for help on the emergency line.  An officer responded, a counselor was contacted, and the person was left in the care of a relative.

 

Suspicious Circumstances
1/31/2019  1:21 p.m.  –  An officer talked to a person who had removed flags from a protestors display, explaining freedom of speech and talking to both parties to resolve the situation.  One of the people was also directed to Title IX concerning their feelings about the protest.

1/31/2019  6:42 p.m. – A job scam targeting students in order to get their personal information was reported to the UAF police department.  The FBI was notified, and OIT was informed as UAF students may be being targeted.

2/2/2019  5:28 a.m. – A man was banging on a door in the women’s dorm in MacLean House, yelling to be let in.  Video footage was reviewed, and the man was found and given a disorderly conduct warning.  He was from Bartlett Hall and had locked himself out of his room.

2/4/2019  2:32 p.m. – A report was submitted about a cleaning employee in the Patty Ice Arena making threats.  The investigation is ongoing.

2/6/2019  7:15 a.m. – A trailer near the Old University Park building was broken into.  The investigation is ongoing.

2/6/2019  3:54 p.m. – A hole was drilled into a gas tank near the Reichardt Building sometime between February 3rd and 6th.  The investigation is ongoing.

2/9/2019  12:37 a.m. – The front door to Wickersham Hall had been shattered from the inside.  An officer responded, and both housing and the lockshop were notified.

 

Fraud
1/31/2019  2:16 p.m. – An investigation is ongoing into a possibly altered or forged check.

 

Lost Property
1/31/2019  3:43 p.m. A report was submitted about a passport that had been lost off campus in 2016, as part of a process to get a replacement passport.

 

MVA
2/1/2019  11:49 a.m. – A minor accident involving a car and a UAF heavy equipment front loader occurred on Tanana Loop outside the Patty Center.  Statement forms were filled out by witnesses.

2/2/2019  7:07 p.m. – A parked car in the MBS lot was hit by another car.  An officer will investigate, and talk to the owner of the hit car.

2/7/2019  9:24 p.m. – A car accident in the lower dorms lot left no injuries or damage.  Both drivers were given information exchange forms.

 

Domestic Disturbance
2/1/2019  1:50 p.m. – Loud yelling was reported from a dorm room in Stuart Hall.  The argument was found to be over a barking dog and was only verbal.  Both people involved were given a disorderly conduct warning and provided with domestic violence information.

2/2/2019  8:05 p.m. – An officer responded to reports of yelling and crying coming from a dorm room in Bartlett Hall.  It was determined that no physical assault had occurred, and both people involved were provided with domestic violence resources and information.  The case report was submitted after the fact on February 6th.

 

Disturbance
2/2/2019  3:47 a.m. – Yelling was heard from a residence in Hess Village, with one person saying that they were going to kill themselves.  An officer responded, both people were given domestic violence information and additional resources, and the Crisis Care hotline was called.

2/7/2019  1:08 a.m. – A person from Walsh Hall called the UAF police department during an argument.  The parties involved were separated, and both were provided with domestic violence resources and information.  Res Life was also contacted.

 

Traffic Stop
2/5/2019  2:49 p.m. – During a traffic stop, 25-year-old Margaret L. Legette of Fairbanks was cited for driving without a valid license, and for not having proof of insurance.

2/10/2019  4:36 p.m. – Daniel E. Teasdale, 37 of Northway Village, was cited for speeding, driving with a revoked license, and for having no proof of insurance.

 

Theft
2/6/2019  10:13 a.m. – Copper was stolen from the Aurora Building sometime between January 23rd and February 1st.  A possible suspect was identified, and the investigation is ongoing.

 

Criminal Trespass
2/7/2019  1:52 p.m. – A person getting irate at the front desk of Wood Center was escorted off-campus, and trespassed from UAF.

 

Vehicle Check
2/8/2019  12:34 a.m. – A car ran out of gas on the side of Geist Road.  The driver, Amanda P. Baron, 27 of North Pole, was cited for driving with an expired license, and given a ride to their house.

 

Suicidal Person
2/8/2019  2:24 a.m. – An officer took a possibly suicidal student to the hospital.

 

DUI
2/10/2019  9:31 p.m. – A car was pulled over in the South MBS parking lot under suspicion of the driver being under the influence.  After a breath test, the driver was released.




Senate gains two new senators, changes coming to Title IX and AlcoholEdu

The senate meeting on January 27 started with an 8-0-1 vote to expedite Cachet Garrett and Dianna Rupp to a vote for senate seats A and G respectively.

Senate Chair Audrey Kirby brought up the partnership between ASUAF and the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities in testing their new student conduct process. Senators Ramstad, Ashlock, Navarro, Rupp and von Hafften volunteered.

During the Officer Reports, Government Relations Director, Peter Freymuller, announced his resignation from the Commencement Speaker Search Committee due to a conflict of interest.

“I had to resign the Commencement Speaker Committee ‘cause I learned that I have a few close friends that are going to be applying and I would pick them just because it’s them rather than picking the right person,” Freymuller stated in regards to his resignation.

President Dawson Mann, Vice President James McLean, Kirby, and Senator Kayla Haeg were appointed by Freymuller to attend the Juneau Advocacy Trip to represent ASUAF. The trip will be from March 16-19.

Bernard Aoto, Student Advocacy Director, explained that Haven and AlcoholEdu have been taken out of the school system as EverFi will no longer sponsor those trainings. The UA system is creating its own program to replace Haven. There is no current AlcoholEdu replacement program being crafted at this time.

Aoto also brought up that the RISE board is looking for a new home for Green Bike’s as the Nordic House is set to be demolished.

The voting for both Rupp and Garrett for senators commenced with a 7-0-2 vote for Garrett to being a senator and a 9-0-1 vote for Rupp for senator.

The meeting then had a second reading of four senate bills brought forth earlier in the session. There was a vote of 10-0-1 for the ASUAF Valentine’s Day Event with the amount voted for being $300 from the senate projects fund. There were then three travel bills: Appropriation of Funds for Mitali Chandnani with a 6-0-4 for $350 from travel fund to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Appropriation of Funds for Thomas Allen with a 8-0-3 for $700 from travel fund for The Alaska Anthropological Association, Appropriation of Funds for Sujai Banderji with a 8-0-3 for $750 from travel fund to the Goddard Space Flight Center for a workshop and giving a talk at the American Geophysical Union.

The meeting concluded with another discussion of the future meeting times of the senate. It was decided that the meetings would move from 4 P.M. to 4:15 P.M.




Shia’s Solutions – Allyship and Education Resources

Q: “I was wondering if there were any organizations you know of with a presence in Fairbanks that I could join or any resources I could use to educate myself with so I can be a better ally to POC and the LGBTQ+ communities here?”

Shia: When approaching activism, advocacy, and allyship, it is important to acknowledge how classism, stereotypes, and intergenerational trauma affect the people in need around you. Having regular conversations about how to become a good ally is essential because each demographic in need has varying experiences and disadvantages. Learning the difference between cultural appropriation vs appreciation is a good foundation to ensure that as an ally, you aren’t overstepping your boundaries. Uplifting the voices of people of color and activists within the LGBTQ+ community is just one small way to utilize your privilege. Correcting stereotypical statements that promote a culturally ignorant atmosphere can help build a community with a low discrimination tolerance.

Other ways you can support include: donating clothes, food, and menstrual products to shelters and individuals in need. On-campus organizations that students can utilize for community support and outreach include the Native Student UnionNanook Diversity and Action Center, Resource and Advocacy Center (or Interior Center For Non-Violent Living), Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Generation Action and Festival of Native Arts. Off-campus organizations include PFLAG, Fairbanks Pride, Fairbanks Queers and Allies, Native Movement, Native Peoples Action, Boys & Girls Club, Gender Pioneers, FCAC,  and the NAACP.

 

For the most up to date campus-wide resources, utilize the app Org Sync to join clubs and view events.




Design and Technology: Apple AirPod Earrings

Browsing social media is one of the best ways to stay current on news, technology, design and trends. On January, 26  I stumbled upon a tweet by non-binary designer Gabrielle Reilly otherwise known as L. This tweet included a video of their most recent design, an Apple AirPod earring. Apple AirPods cost approximately $160 and are completely wireless. Upon the release of the AirPod, discussion erupted addressing what consumers would do if they misplaced one of their headphones. Apple has since released a wired attachment for these cordless pods, however, some would argue that this design was less than sensible.

The creative process included a major need for a device that prevented the displacement and destruction of their AirPods. “I think the best inventions come out of having to fulfill a need.” L stated. The earrings consist of only a few materials including chain, plastic and jump rings.  The future of this design looks bright. L currently has a patent pending to ensure ownership of the design and will be custom making each pair of earrings to suit consumer needs. They are also working on making earrings for people with unpierced ears and are considering making an earring for those with stretched lobes, though they are more difficult to accommodate.

As a designer, L has been familiar with DIY and craft making as long as they can remember. When asked for their opinion on the future of design and technology L listed their friend Spicy as an inspiration.

” There are some very cool people doing very things. My friend Spicy (spicy.obj on Instagram) has been making 3d models of clothes, shoes, makeup, and herself. She really takes the future to the next level and makes me feel like people will start to do more adventurous things with inventions that already exist.”

This invention proves to me that the merge between fashion and technology is closer than we think. What results from that merge however is completely unpredictable.

“We are definitely moving away from tradition and making our own. Technology kind of implies that objects are functional, but Spicy has proven to me that they don’t have to serve a specific purpose. They can just be.” L replied

If you would like to stay up to date on this designer you can follow them on Instagram @deadanimom and you can purchase these earrings at deadanimemom.myshopify.com




Police Blotter: Jan 14 – 30

Criminal Trespass
1/18/2019  2:58 p.m. – A man laying down on a couch, possibly drunk, in Wood Center was reported.  It was found that the man had been trespassed from campus.  Gordon G. Riley, 62 years old of Fairbanks was arrested and charged with criminal trespass 2.

1/22/2019  10:09 p.m. – While locking up the CTC parking garage on Barnette Street, two people were found in the stairwells.  Both people were trespassed.

 

Alarms
1/29/2019  12:14 a.m. – MBS was evacuated and UAF Fire was called after smoke alarms went off in the building.  The cause for the alarm was found to be burned popcorn.

 

Lost Property
1/14/2019  1:44 p.m. – Someone reported having lost property at the airport terminal on January 9th.  They also called the airport in addition to campus police.

 

Suspicious Circumstances
1/15/2019  12:13 a.m. – A juvenile was reported as acting violently towards other players and coaches, and was reported to the Alaska State Troopers.

1/15/2019  3:09 p.m. – A staff member in Wickersham Hall reported a student stalking another.  The student was told not to contact or approach the other student in any way.  It’s possible language barriers or cultural differences caused a misinterpretation of the previous contact, but the other student was also given domestic violence and stalking information, as well as Title IX contact information for assistance.

1/17/2019  2:06 p.m. – A report of possibly threatening communication between a student and a faculty member in the Irving Building was submitted, with the faculty member concerned for the student.  An officer made contact with both people, and an investigation is ongoing.

1/23/2019  10:05 a.m. – A vendor reported that a truck on campus had been moved without permission.  It was found that it had been moved by some of the vendor’s other employees.

1/29/2019  8:27 a.m. – A resident was asking a residence assistant strange questions at a dance.  An officer contacted the resident to discuss their behavior, and the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities was informed.

1/30/2019  7:48 a.m. – A complainant reported a car following them to work and driving aggressively and dangerously.  Investigation is ongoing.

 

Theft
1/15/2019  11:57 a.m. – Gift cards were stolen from the Museum of the North.  The cards were later turned in, and no charges were filed.

1/23/2019  1:29 p.m. – Two cars were broken into in the CTC parking lot.  The investigation is ongoing.

 

Stalking
1/15/2019  12:58 p.m. – An officer responded to a report of someone being stalked by a fellow student.  Domestic violence and stalking information and resources were provided, and the investigation is ongoing.

1/24/2019  2:41 p.m. – A person who had been accused of stalking someone else on campus was contacted and trespassed from all property on campus except for their residence.  The person being stalked was provided with domestic violence information, and the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities was contacted.

 

DUI
1/15/2019  10:39 p.m. – During a traffic stop on Denali Lane, it was determined that the driver, 24-year-old David R. Hembree of Fairbanks, was driving under the influence.  Hembree was arrested, and charged with DUI.

 

MVA
1/16/2019  11:36 a.m. – A car ran off the road near the UAF Agricultural Farm, and was stuck in the snow near the railroad tracks.  Railroad police and operations were notified, and the car was towed away from the tracks.

1/18/2019  2:18 p.m. – A car back into another car in the MBS parking lot.  Information forms were provided, and pictures were taken.

1/25/2019  3:23 p.m. – A car hit another car that was slowing down for pedestrians.  The driver of the first car, 19-year-old Daks O. Bowman of Fairbanks was cited.

1/29/2019  7:59 a.m. – The UAF shuttle was coming up towards West Ridge when a car slid into it.  Facilities Services was notified, and an officer provided information forms.

 

Motorist Assist
1/17/2019   1:52 p.m. – A car was stuck off the edge of a road near the Hess Village.  Other residents from the village helped pull the car out with tow straps.

1/24/2019  5:14 p.m. – A car went off the road near the reindeer pens at the Agricultural Farm.  It was determined that the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.  There were no injuries, and the car was pulled out of the snow by a tow company.

 

Found Property
1/17/2019  4:17 p.m. – Residence Life turned in items from storage in Bartlett Hall to be disposed of.

 

Animal Complaint
1/18/2019  1:07 a.m. – An officer responded to a report of an injured moose on Butrovich Hill.

 

Public Assist
1/18/2019  2:27 a.m. – An officer responded to an argument between occupants and custodial staff in the honors house on Copper Lane.

 

Minor Consuming
1/19/2019  2:44 p.m. – An ambulance took a drunk student in Skarland Hall to the hospital.  The student was later issued an MCA.

 

Traffic Incident
1/19/2019  11:58 a.m. – An officer saw a car on Thompson Drive with their hazard lights on.  The car had hit a crosswalk pole and broken a tail light.  The pole had not been damaged.

1/20/2019  12:00 p.m. – A car was hit by another car in the Patty Ice Arena parking lot.  A note was left on the car, and an officer provided assistance and information exchange forms.

1/28/2019  11:10 a.m. – A government car backed into a UAF car in the Akasofu parking lot.  Facilities Services was notified, and information forms were provided.

 

Welfare Check
1/25/2019  12:11 p.m. – An officer contacted a possibly suicidal student, and took them to the UAF Health and Counseling Center.

 

Intoxicated Person
1/25/2019  11:40 p.m. – An officer saw a drunk person in the MACS bus hut on UAF Campus.  Another officer responded, and it was found that three of the people in the hut were drunk.  All three were transported to off-campus residences.

 

Traffic Stop
1/27/2019  12:54 a.m. – A verbal warning was given to the driver during a traffic stop on Farmers Loop Road.

1/27/2019  3:26 a.m. – The driver during a traffic stop on Tanana Loop Road acknowledged their violation, and was not issued any citation.




Local Band Spotlight : The Dilemma

By Di Rupp

Local band The Dilemma mesmerized the UAF Pub this past Friday, drawing in an immense crowd with their dreamy vocals and chilly riffs. After catching up with the band post show, we sat down to discuss some of the finer points of the bands history, musical inspirations, and more.

What initially inspired the formation of The Dilemma?

“We started playing together by chance. Alex and I (Alisha) were covering Arctic Monkeys one year for the cover up. One of our guitarists had to drop out, and our friend Wes told us that Josh would be able to fill in. After the cover up, Josh asked Luke to come jam with us. Right away we all just clicked musically. Our song Biped Ungrateful was the first song we ever wrote together. We haven’t changed it much from that first time. It is incredible to be able to just feel out the music together.”

What are your musical influences?

“We all have different musical influences, and I think that really shows in our music. A few musicians that I would say we all have been influenced by are Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age. I (Alisha) tend to draw from minimalist, post rock, jazz, and shoegaze influences. Alex listens to a lot of jazz, ambient and trip hop but also grew up listening to alot of 80’s metal. Josh derives most of his musical inspiration from jrpgs and Noam Chomsky.”

What directions do you see yourselves going in musically? Do you have any particular style you’re trying to aspire towards?

“We have thought about this question a lot. I think that we all really love that our music isn’t necessarily confined to one genre. We have the start of a song and we all come together, and just let the song become what it becomes. We are always trying to expand our boundaries with music, we always want to be experimenting.”

What are your dreams for the band? Do you plan to keep it local?

“Right now, our main goal is to finish our album. We are in the final steps of finishing our first full length album. And we still have more songs we haven’t even started to record. When we are finished recording, I can definitely see us taking a summer tour in the states. Right now, we just want to keep making music, and see what happens”

Do you have any other shows coming up?

“We have been taking it pretty slow show wise this winter. But, we do have a Facebook page (The Dilemma) where we post about any upcoming shows and album progress.”




Senate informed of governance agreements and diversity

The first ASUAF meeting of the 2019 spring semester began with the swearing in of 3 new senators: Joshua Narravo, Gabriel Madore and Emma Ashlock.

Two guests, from the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities (formerly the Dean of Students Office), Jessica Rhoads and Kaydee Van Flein, came to speak to ASUAF. They gave a brief overview of their new changes and potential future collaborations with ASUAF. 

“Advocacy is probably the largest portion of what we’re doing for students,” said Van Flein, the Associate Director of the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities.

They reached out to ASUAF senators to participate in a practice Student Conduct Process, in order to provide the Center with feedback to better serve the student population who go through student discipline with the Center.

Before the discussion of the governance boards and the ASUAF governance groups Senate Chair Audrey Kirby stated, “I invited […] the leaders of our governance groups just ‘cause there’s some misinformation going around and I kind of wanted to, like I’m not very informed about our governance groups, so I invited them to introduce who they are and what they do.”

Ronnie Houchin, ASUAF Advisor and Office Manager, led the presentation about the Governance Boards, covering Concert Board, KSUA, The Sun Star, and Sustainability. Houchin spoke of who comprised the governance boards and their purposes of managing the funding for the four groups under ASUAF. Houchin also mentioned the percentage each group receives from the student life fee and what that looks like in a yearly budget. KSUA: 28% of the fee, $95,000 budget, Sun Star: 12% of the fee, $41,000 budget and Concert Board: 17% of the fee with a $57,000 budget. Sustainability is funded by the Sustainability fee. 

The presentation also touched on the moving of the Sun Star and KSUA into the upper level of the Wood Center to be closer to the Center for Student Engagement and ASUAF. 

“Both KSUA and the Sun Star are student media organizations, are protected by freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the US Constitution, state law. No one at the University has any power to tell KSUA or the Sun star what they can or cannot publish,” Houchin said and went on to explain the importance of protecting free press and speech on campus.

After Houchin presented, the senate shifted to more general topics of note. Starting with Public Relations Director, Daniel Vaziri, having been approved for $500 to be used in the purchasing of promotional items to give to students. Vaziri is looking for something to give to graduating students as a memento from ASUAF.

Former ASUAF Senator Benson Hoover’s resignation letter was read aloud, stating their reason for resignation as, “Due to time constraints.”

Kirby mentioned that the by-laws require executives to be available in the office. The suggestion was made for senators to speak to her to set their hours. Kirby also stated that the schedule will be publicly posted.

Senator Lisa Gilbert, during talks involving the Good of the Senate, brought up diversity and inclusion within ASUAF.

“Diversity and inclusivity applies to everyone across the board,” Senator Gilbert stated, “We are adults, we need to work together, we need to include everyone and support everyone so that we can support the student body, that’s our job. […] And I do want to remind you all that not doing so is, in fact, often walking the tightrope of being a Title IX violation. And if it is a Title IX violation, from this point on, I will note it and it will be reported.”

Senator Ashley Paulus, leading the University Relations Committee, mentioned that the 2018 fall semester finished with a Title IX resolution. But no further explanation was offered.

In a 5-3-2 vote against Senator Ashlock, Senator Kayla Haeg won the seat of University Relations Committee Chair. And in a 7-0-2 vote all three confirmations, that of Peter Freymueller the Government Relations Director, Benjamin Carstens, and Senator Haeg were confirmed to the Commencement Speaker Search Committee.

The meeting ended with the setting of future meeting times. A doodle poll had been sent out by Kirby asking for what meeting time would be best for ASUAF senate meetings. At this time the meeting time has not been changed from 4 p.m. on Sundays.