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Senators spar, thank each other at meeting

Threats, apologies, disagreements, accusations and appropriation bills filled Wednesday night's ASUNM Senate meeting.

Finance chairman Sen. Grant Nichols said some student organizations lost 15 percent of their Associated Students of UNM funding, a combined total of $4,000, partly because the senators who were liaisons for those organizations did not do their job in communicating budget workshop dates.

Sen. Javier Martinez said the groups that lost funding are the Marketing Association, Operation Management Student Association and Rodeo Association.

Sen. Steve Aguilar said Senate Campus Safety Ad Hoc Committee members are still not showing up to the meetings.

"Do your job," he yelled to the Senate. "If you sign up, go. I'm not going to take this anymore."

Aguilar said if members of the temporary committee chose not to attend, they have three options: get a written excuse, get a demerit or resign from the committee.

"I am dead serious - I will recommend you for disciplinary action," he said. "This isn't high school. This is a job. Do what you were elected to do."

The Senate debated for nearly two hours about an appropriation bill for $1,750 to provide ASUNM with two new computers. The original request was for $3,500. Aguilar said he wanted to pass it at $3,000.

"We serve 24,000 students," he said. "We cannot accomplish the work we need to do on the computers that we have."

Martinez said the Finance Committee does not to give more that $1,750 to any group for the cost of computers. He said giving $3,000 to ASUNM would be unfair.

"ASUNM is no better than any other group," he said.

Martinez said many senators do not contact their groups and use the outdated computers as an excuse.

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"I've contacted all of my groups, and I didn't even use those computers," he said.

ASUNM Vice President Chris Mansfield and Pro Tempore Andrea Cook opened the meeting by telling the senators that some of them are missing office hours and arriving late or missing meetings without written excuses and could be eligible for demerits.

"You know who you are, and we know who you are," Cook said.

Sen. DaVonda Bowens apologized for being a little late to the meeting and said she had an emergency at work. She said she tries to make the best use of her office hours.

"I schedule meetings during my office hours so I'm not just sitting at the desk," she said.

Many of the senators apologized for not attending the campus safety walk and Student Day at the Legislature this week, although they ran for office with campus safety and lottery scholarships as top priorities.

Sen. Tim Serna said those who didn't go to Student Day can still go to Santa Fe during the legislative session or can find a way to contact the Legislature.

"Write a letter, do something," he said.

During the same meeting, the Senate passed 10 other appropriations bills for a variety of student groups' travel and general expenses.

After the Senate was finished with the appropriations, Sen. Gilbert Morales made everyone stand up and shake hands with each other. Many laughed and hugged or gave high fives.

Morales said he and Mansfield want to work on team-building in the Senate.

"We've had a lot of tension, a lot of stress," he said. "We need to do something together."

The senators decided a barbeque would be a good idea but spent a long time debating the best date for the event.


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