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Fresh faced Senate off to rocky start

New and old Senators already began clashing as the ASUNM Senate kicked off its first Senate meeting Wednesday.

The Associated Students of UNM senators got a taste of what it will be like working with each other as they bickered over language and ideas in the historic Hodgin Hall’s Bobo room.

Newly elected Sen. Davonda Bowens gave an extended “hey” instead of a traditional “here” or “present” during roll call.

Returning Sen. Ahna Mee, senior Senator, brought up Senate etiquette after the casual greetings.

“This is not joking matter, not a time to chill out,” Mee said. “We are here to work.”

Bowens later apologized.

“If I offended anyone come on and tell me,” Bowens said. “I won’t sock you in the eye.”

The Senate went back and forth for more than an hour before deciding against sending Senate members to the Conference on Student Government Association, a workshop in Texas that brings together student governments from throughout the country for discussion and motivational speeches.

The Senate allocated $1,800 last semester to send six senators to the workshop, but withdrew the funding Wednesday because only four members showed interest in going and it conflicted with Lottery to Success Scholarship lobbying dates. The money will go back to the ASUNM general fund, which comes from student fees, to be allocated to other student groups.

Second year Sen. Andrea Gunderson, who is in her second term, said she thinks the majority vote was wrong because many of the new senators didn’t know the details of the workshop before voting for or against it.

She said even if only two senators represented UNM at the conference, it would be an investment because senators could share student government ideas with other universities.

Gunderson, who was the former Finance Committee chairwoman, said if two senators attended, as opposed to six, the leftover money would go back into the ASUNM general funds and would not be wasted.

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Returning Sen. Josh Aragon said the workshop is a poor investment serving only as a vacation and that the money would be better spent on another student organization.

“I believe COSGA is an excess because I’ve never seen anything come out of it,” he said.

The Senate also voted to create three ad hoc committees that will meet every two weeks to work on campus safety, Senate reform and public relations.

The Public Relations committee will work to inform the student body of ASUNM, improve alumni relations and boost school spirit.

Sen. Steve Aguilar will be the Safety Committee chairman, and Gunderson will be Senate Reform Committee chairwoman, which may attempt to amend the way senators are elected and the number of senators in office.

During the meeting, the Senate passed appropriation bills for the Ice Wolves, a club hockey team, to receive $1,650, although the group requested $3, 560. The Student Photo Initiative received $500 — the maximum that can be given to a new group — though they asked for $2,340.

Following the meeting, Vice President Chris Mansfield said everyone handled themselves well.

“I think the Senate showed a very professional working relationship,” he said.

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