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ASUNM votes to commend PATS' services to students

On Wednesday the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico passed Resolution 2F, conveying their gratitude to Parking and Transportation Services for their work benefiting students on campus.

The legislation first had to endure some debate and discussion, however, between senators who supported the resolution and a few who didn’t believe it accurately reflected the sentiments of their constituents.

“Our job is to represent students, and one of the biggest complaints from students is parking,” said Sen. Bisaan Hanouneh, one of four who voted against the legislation.

Resolution 2F, introduced by Sen. Delia Brennan and Sen. Brad Sedillo, was created in the wake of PATS reaching out to the undergraduate student governing body to partner up in hosting this year’s Parking Summit, to be held on Nov. 19.

The resolution recognizes that PATS is continuously working to fulfill its mission of “providing access to key programs for faculty, students and visitors through a variety of transportation services,” despite the fact that the legislation also “recognizes the difficulty of parking conveniently on campus.”

The latter clause represented one of the primary points of contention during discussion of the resolution.

“A part of (their mission) is serving students, and I think we should commend them for that,” Brennan said. “I think it’s important to recognize that because they might get some negative feedback at this forum.”

But not all agreed that a resolution was the best way to thank PATS for their services, including Sen. Gabe Gallegos, who made a motion to remove the specific clause applauding PATS for its work.

Following some discussion on the purpose and legitimacy of the resolution without such a clause, the amendment failed with a narrow vote of 9-10-0, keeping the clause in place.

In response to senators who believed the popular perception of PATS among the student body is a negative one, Sen. Ben Maggard said what students think of the department can’t easily be swayed.

“PATS is like the IRS ... they’re the ‘bad guys,’” Maggard said. “They’re going to have to do things that no one likes. But recognizing the good things that they do is just as important.”

“The fact is, we have a duty not just to the students who oppose them, but also those who support them,” he said.

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Sedillo echoed Maggard’s statements, saying that parking exists as a finite resource, something that will inevitably be a problem for some students. PATS will always be in a lose-lose situation, he said.

“The more students on campus, the more valuable parking becomes. It’s simple economics,” Sedillo said.

Later, Sen. Ryan Boyle joined the argument and proposed to add three components with actual, tangible objectives: parking spots for pregnant students in their third trimester, for veterans and for students with dependent children ages four and under.

Although the resolution was met with almost universal praise, senators also thought those components changed the intent of Resolution 2F.

“This is something that could be a separate resolution. This involves a lot more dialogue than can go on right now,” Brennan said.

Sen. Ashley Hawney expressed a similar sentiment, as well as her fear that such an amendment directs the consideration of the Senate on those particular groups of students instead of everyone.

Boyle’s amendment failed with a vote of 6-13-0.

Part of the discussion surrounding the resolution harkened back to comments made by Sedillo, who is also chair of the ASUNM committee that oversees all legislation before it moves on to the Senate, earlier in the meeting.

“(Resolutions) provide a broad range of things that ASUNM can do to support groups around campus,” he said. “The way I look at it, the most effective resolutions deal with something that affects students on a daily basis.”

In that regard, most senators saw Resolution 2F, just the second such piece of legislation presented this semester after the spring Senate oversaw 12 resolutions, as legitimate, eventually leading to its passing after about 40 minutes of discussion.

“The first step to solving a problem is recognizing a problem,” Brennan said in one of the final comments before the vote was taken. “How can we support recognizing how great (PATS) is doing if we don’t pass this thing saying we support it? Giving the official sentiment of the Senate ... that’s the way to do it.”

David Lynch is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter 
@RealDavidLynch.

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