Thursday, March 02, 2006

The UW Senate Steering Committee minutes, 2-17-2006

The UW Senate Steering committee met 2-17-2006 and their meeting minutes are now posted.

I think these are interesting because they again show how they characterize the whole debate in an interesting manner. But in all fairness, it is necessary to understand this from their perspective too.

I will list the full text below, but here are the highlights as they pertain to the Pappy Boyington Flap. Many things I have blogged on previously are mentioned:
  • A discussion of the press coverage
  • Mention of a large amount of dehumanizing emails regarding the memorial vote.
  • The (Jill) Edwards Apology Resolution is introduced (R-12-24)
  • The introduction of Nathan Bedle, not a Senator, as a cosponsor of R-12-24. He is also a Sgt in the Marine Corps Reserve.
  • He noted that there is no military representative in the Senate.
  • Discussion of offense versus free speech.
  • The open expectation that R-12-24 will be tabled indefinitely
  • The introduction of A Resolution Calling For a Memorial for UW Alumni awarded the Medal of Honor (R-12-26)
  • A suggestion is made to immediately table R-12-26 indefinitely as being a duplicate of the original memorial resolution.
  • R-12-24 was referred to the General Affairs Committee.
  • While approving the Senate Agenda, it is noted that an ROTC Representative will speak before the next Senate Session.
  • In the General Discussion, the idea of recording the meetings was discussed.
  • It was noted there was concern that recording the sessions might alter the debate.
  • A motion was made to reconsider the 2-7-2006 Minutes.
  • Ashley Miller began a defense/clarification of her comments.
  • A number of students defended Ashley's comments
  • The amount of scrutiny these minutes have received was noted.
  • How the change was to be documented on the minutes website was discussed.
  • It was noted that any changes to the minutes would be closely noted by the media.
  • The intent was to have the changes be on the original minutes.
  • The committee was cautioned about the implications of any changes, and how that would affect the criticism and perception. It was also noted that changes could jeopardize the reputation and integrity of the Senate.
  • The motion was amended to have a new set of minutes posted separately reflecting the changes.

The minutes in full, and unedited:


ASUW Student Senate Steering Committee
02-17-2006
Minutes

Respectfully Submitted by Senate Secretary Travis McCoy

I. Call to Order and Roll Call

Alex Kim called the meeting to order at 3:44PM
Alex Kim
Erin Shields – not present
Travis McCoy
Travis Grandy
Lee Dunbar – proxy Jon Lee
Hala Dillsi
Jon Lee
Derek Hazen – not present
Sam Al-Khoury
Cailin Magruder – proxy Brianne King
Shawn Fisher
Jerome McCuin – not present
Alvin Chen – not present
Rene Singleton

II. Approval of the Agenda

Travis McCoy moved to approve the agenda. Seconded. Passed without objection.

III. Chair’s Report

Alex Kim noted that ASUW has had a busy week dealing with the press coverage of the recent resolution considered. He said ASUW has prepared an official press statement regarding the issue.

He said that there has been a large influx of dehumanizing emails regarding the decision on R-12-18. He said every Senate officer and ASUW officer is working to maintain the right of senators to speak their minds.

He noted that his letter to the Daily was published today, and that he had submitted the letter to other publications as well.

He said disagreement was expected and encouraged on the issue, but that there should be outrage over the way some have handled the issue.

Ashley Miller said that she didn’t think the minutes accurately reflected what she thought she said.

Alex Kim encouraged her to address that issue during general discussion.

Hala Dillsi thanked Alex Kim and Lee Dunbar for their efforts and words at the previous Senate meeting. She said she thought Senators appreciated being updated on the issue.

IV. Officers’ Reports

Travis McCoy said he had no new news to report.

Travis Grandy said those senators who were in bad standing were cut as of the last meeting.

He said the fundraiser was a huge success and raised $273 for charity. He thanked those who auctioned themselves off.

Andrew Everett noted that R-12-25 had been rescinded by its sponsor.

V. Legislative Referral

R-12-24 Edwards Apology

Alex Kim read the resolution out loud.

Alex Kim entertained a motion to refer the legislation to Steering Committee.

Shawn Fisher moved to refer the legislation to Steering committee. Seconded.

Objection.

Travis Grandy asked if that was allowed by the by-laws.

It was noted that the bylaws do not specifically forbid legislation from being referred to Steering
Committee.

Andrew Everett asked if there was a censure policy in place for senators.

Rene Singleton said there was not.

Travis Grandy objected because he felt the resolution did not pertain to the rules and bylaws of Senate.

Alex Kim noted that it was not specifically forbidden.

Sam Al-Khoury read the specific bylaws pertaining to the issue.

The motion failed.

Nathan Bedle presented the legislation as a sponsor.

He said he is a Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve.

He said he apologized on behalf of those who had made offensive comments

He said he didn’t feel the comments made were inappropriate, and that while he didn’t intend to punish a senator, he felt it needed to be expressed that such comments were unacceptable as they were discriminatory in nature.

He said he had no intention of the resolution passing, but merely wanted to bring the issue to Senate.

He said that he was surprised when he realized that the military has no representative on Senate.

He said the issue was particularly important to him and other members of the military, and that he hoped some sort of censure procedure could be developed for future conflicts.

Alex Kim said he appreciated Nathan Bedle coming to committee to represent himself.

He said he understood that ROTC and other military organizations would be coming to Senate to represent themselves.

Andrew Everett said Jill Edwards emailed him an apology and said he would make it available to Alex if he asked. He said because the apology wasn’t public, he thought it had created some backlash.

Rene Singleton noted that while everyone was having a debate, there was no evidence of offense. She said she thought that the way the comments were documented may have created the controversy. She said she didn’t see any immediate reaction from Senate once the controversial comments were made.

She said she thought a new method for taking minutes might be in order.

Alex Kim said that one of the misconceptions in the public eye is the scope of Senate’s power. He said that a decision by Student Senate didn’t equate to immediate results.

Shawn Fisher said that Senate needs to maintain a situation in which people can freely express themselves regardless of how offensive the comments are.

He said by asking people to apologize would set a horrible precedent and cause some people to not express themselves freely. He said that it was contradictory for those in the military to ask for people to be censured for exercising the freedom of speech the military tries to protect.

Nathan Bedle said he wasn’t tryin to restrict anyone’s rights. He said Senate should have a way to deal with comments that are needlessly discriminatory. He said there is a responsibility to be polite in a public forum and that rude comments needed to be recognized.

Alex Kim explained how legislation flowed through Senate and what process it would go through. He said he expected the legislation would be tabled, as Nathan Bedle had expected, as that was the general procedure taken by Senate. He said he wanted to make sure that the debate itself was open and thus opinions could be debated and corrected during the discussion.

Jon Lee moved to refer the legislation to Membership Committee. Seconded.

Passed without objection.

R-12-25 An Act Supporting Those Who Work for a Free and Democratic Society

Shawn Fisher moved to refer to Steering Committee. Seconded. Objection.

Andrew Everett noted that the sponsor has requested the resolution not be considered.

Andrew Everett moved to table the resolution indefinitely. Seconded. Passed without objection.

R-12-26 A Resolution Calling a Memorial for UW Alumni awarded the Medal of Honor

Andrew Everett read the ‘that’ clauses in his resolution.

Shawn Fisher said in his opinion the Senate saw the same resolution two weeks ago. He said Steering should table the resolution indefinitely.

Sam Al-Khoury said he disagreed because the resolution was not wide enough in its scope, and that the new resolution met more individuals’ needs.

Jon Lee moved to refer the resolution to General Affairs. Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed.

VI. Approval of Committee Appointments

Jon Lee moved to approve the committee appointments. Seconded. Passed without objection.

VII. Approval of the Senate Agenda

Alex Kim noted that Dr. Barceló needed to leave at 5:30. He suggested the Public Forum begin at the start of the meeting.

Sam Al-Khoury moved to place the public forum as the first item of the agenda.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

Sam Al-Khoury asked if there was a specific topic to be discussed.

Alex Kim said it would mostly be question and answer.

He said he would be allowing an ROTC representative to speak during his Chair’s Report.

Travis Grandy moved to approve the agenda. Seconded. Passed without objection.

VIII. General Discussion

Andrew Everett said he’s in the process of writing an Organic Act to propose an audio recording be made of each meeting.

Travis McCoy said he thought the idea had merit, but that he was concerned with the feasibility of the project and its impact on the debate in Senate.

Alex Kim said there has been a recurring theme of whether or not to record Senate meetings. He said there is a question of whether having recording devices present might alter the nature of debate.

Travis Grandy moved to reconsider the minutes from February 7th, 2006.

Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed.

Ashley Miller said that what is lacking in the minutes and that she has been under attack for is that she was understood as saying there are already enough monuments, and that was not what she meant to convey with her comments.

Sam Al-Khoury moved to strike the word “already” from Ashley Miller’s statement. Seconded.
Objection.

Andrew Everett said he has spoken to multiple media outlets about her comments.

Shawn Fisher said that he favored the amendment, but that he thought her intent was to note that there were already enough monuments honoring certain people.

Ashley Miller said she couldn’t be responsible for the way it was interpreted, but that there was no intent on her part to convey that impression.

Travis McCoy said that while he wanted to ensure the minutes were as accurate as possible, he thought the intent was accurately conveyed despite not being a verbatim quote, and that he was concerned with how the change would be perceived by the outside world.

Hala Dillsi said that she sat next to Ashley in the room during the meeting, and that she specifically remembered Ashley saying “This was not in reference to Colonel Boyington and this resolution, but…” She said she thought Steering Committee’s job was to produce amendments that most accurately represent what was said. She said she didn’t think the amendment was inappropriate, and in fact was Steering’s responsibility.

Alex Kim amended the amendment to insert a steering committee note indicating how the minutes were passed originally. Seconded. Passed without objection

Alex Kim said that there has been a lot of scrutiny on this set of minutes, and that the concern is that Steering will be seen as covering up its tracks.

Travis Grandy saw he thought Steering’s ultimate goal was to have the most accurate minutes possible.

Rene Singleton asked how the change would be represented on the website.

Alex Kim clarified his intent was to have all changes reflected on one set of minutes.

Andrew Everett said that reporters have told him that any change in the minutes will be very closely noted.

Travis McCoy said he wanted Steering to be aware of the implications of changing the minutes. He said the change would not lessen the criticism of Senate, and that it would be perceived as wavering under public pressure. He said that so far, while outsiders could disagree with Senate’s ideas, they could not question its integrity or adherence to procedure. He said that if any further changes were made to the minutes, that reputation would be seriously jeopardized.

Rene Singleton suggested that the new minutes be posted separately online.

The amendment passed unanimously with one abstention.

Sam Al-Khoury moved to approve the minutes. Seconded. Passed without objection.

IX. Approval of the Minutes

The motion was made to approve the Steering minutes of February 13, 2006.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

Shawn Fisher moved to approve the Senate minutes of February 14, 2006.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

X. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 5:01PM