ASUAF follow-up questions

Question

Questions have been submitted on the Grapevine for ASUAF. I have yet to see ASUAF provide answers to those questions.

Does ASUAF feel they are above answering questions? Why is ASUAF allowed to complain and ask questions of others but not answer questions themselves?

They claim they speak for the students. How many students participate in ASUAF? How many students voted in their last election? Didn’t they only have one choice for president? How is that at all representative of students?

What is the process for disbanding the ASUAF student government?

Response

The follow response is from ASUAF staff member Anne Williamson regarding follow-up questions about ASUAF. She answered the Grapevine question about ASUAF vice president on Sept. 9. I hadn’t posted it yet.  Thanks for the reminder.

— Carla Browning, Grapevine administrator

How many students participate in ASUAF?
Our current membership this semester is 5,134 students. All of our members participate by paying the student government fee. ASUAF also currently employs over 40 student leaders and volunteers across its programs and governance groups. Students who pick up an issue of the Sun Star or tune in to KSUA 91.5 FM are also actively participating in ASUAF, since the fee helps provide those services to the UAF community, among others.

How many students voted in their last election?
There were 263 ballots cast in the spring 2016 election which is a 5 percent participation rate. We typically have between 5-10 percent.

Didn’t they only have one choice for president? How is that at all representative of students?
That is correct, there was only one official candidate for president. Petitions for the offices of president as well as senator were made available through our office and online approximately three weeks prior to the election. Any ASUAF member in good academic standing is eligible to run for office. Students may also have write-in campaigns in lieu of official candidacy. The Elections Board received only one petition for president.

While we agree that 5 percent participation is not ideal or desirable, the winning candidate received 219 of the total 263 votes, which makes him a clear representative for the students that chose to participate in the election.

What is the process for disbanding the ASUAF student government?
The ASUAF student government has been established and is fully recognized per Board of Regents policy and Regulation 09.07.050. There is no specific process for disbanding it in the association documents or in regents policy and regulation; however, the membership can make changes to the constitution, recall elected officials or change the fee that funds the student government in any general ASUAF election through an initiative petition.  You can read about how to create and submit a petition in the ASUAF Elections Manual here: http://www.asuafstudentgov.org/elections-manual/.

I am incredibly proud of the student leaders that I get to work with through ASUAF. I have seen them do tremendous things despite having full credit loads, families, jobs and other commitments. If any student feels misrepresented or unhappy with the services they receive through the ASUAF student government, I would encourage them to become more involved. As the election results show, there is plenty of room and opportunity for positive change, but it has to come from the students.

— Anne Williamson, ASUAF staff