Senators examine transphobia claims, advertising budget
Claims of Prejudice
Accusations were levied against Sen. Daniel Dougherty concerning things he allegedly said in the public ASUAF office, and a motion was made by Sen. Raven Palmer to impeach him.
“Senator Dougherty expressed not representing trans people, because they aren’t quote ‘his kind,'” said Palmer.
Sen. Brooke Bolduc motioned to suspend the rules of procedure and hasten discussion in order to quickly address the concerns. However, this was voted down, and the discussion was moved to a private executive session.
“I really, really believe in openness and transparency,” said Sen. Diana Ramstad, “but I do believe that there are some things that maybe senators want to say right now that maybe they don’t want to express publicly at this time.”
The private meeting for further discussion on the matter was called by Sen. Gabriel Madore and excluded the public and the press. Comments on the topic, once the public Senate meeting resumed, were brief.
“I think the discussion we had with the accused senator was important,” said Senate Chair Samuel Mitchell, “and I would like to work with Representative Hensell, Senator Dougherty, Senator Palmer, and Senator Bolduc and maybe come to a private conclusion on how to mitigate this, because there has not been an official punishment or so that matches the crime.”
Dougherty did not comment on the matter during the public meeting.
Sun Star Advertisements
There was also discussion about the cost of ad space in The Sun Star for the upcoming student election.
“The purpose of The Sun Star is to advertise news; the election for the ASUAF is news. It’s very valid, students do need to know about it,” said Dustin Elsberry, Government Relations Director, “but to mandate that we spend money on it, I believe, is not right. This is not to say that they won’t advertise it; it’s just to say that we will not be forced to pay them to advertise it.”
Melissa Clark, Public Relations Director, mentioned that, although ASUAF has in previous years spent money for ad space in the newspaper, the student government does not have a specific advertising budget this year.
“We don’t have money we decided to allocate towards advertising, if that makes sense,” said Clark.
Sen. Dougherty questioned whether student government should have more authority over the newspaper, since the student government fee funds The Sun Star as a governance group of ASUAF.
“Do you think that just because we fund The Sun Star, we should have ultimate control over them?” Dougherty said.
Sen. Mitchell responded by telling the senators to remain on topic.
The senators confirmed two appointments to the Food for Thought committee. Lisa Gilbert was voted in unanimously, and Michael Romanovsky was voted in with seven for and four abstaining.