Problems With AS&F Senate’s First Meeting

Micah Anderson
The Paw Print

Before I jump right in, let it be known that I take full responsibility for this article and that I have no affiliation with the AS&F Senate, other than the fact that they use my student fees – and yours – so they may function. My words are mine alone although the sentiments are shared by others as well. Toward the end of last week, you may have seen the advertisement on Portal for the upcoming meeting:
Submitted by: Chirieleison, L
We would like to invite all interested people, to join us at any or all of our meetings, every other Monday at 6 p.m. in the Business Building, room 142. Our first meeting will be held Monday, August 30. We hope to see you there.
What the ad should have said was: “We would like to invite all interested people to the meeting in its entirety. If you are not a club representative or senator, we will tell you to leave the meeting at 6:13 p.m. and let you back in around 7 p.m. so that we can have a private session.”
Let’s hope that “all interested people” would be ok with being excluded from a portion of the meeting. I attended Monday’s meeting, and this is exactly what happened. AS&F Senate is now an exclusive organization that will open and close the meetings (in which they decide how to spend your money) whenever they see fit. I asked the chief justice, Amber Harlan, whose job is to interpret the AS&F Constitution, where I could find the clause or section that allowed for closed meetings. I was told that someone would get back to me as soon as possible; I’m still waiting for that response.
The Senate was also instructed by the president to go out and get the opinions of the students on the 2011-2012 Fall Break/Thanksgiving schedule – to get a decision through word-of-mouth rather than send out a survey to all students. The decision is up to you: ASC can have two days off for Fall Break with three days off for Thanksgiving, or you can decide to get rid of Fall Break altogether in exchange for an entire week off for Thanksgiving. How many of you have been contacted by your senators about this matter? Are there any? If none of you have given your input, this huge decision will be made by these senators and you will have to deal with it.
If none of this is of concern to you, then I’m sorry I’ve wasted your time. If this matters to you, I encourage you to get a copy of the current constitution from the Senate office, located inside the Student Life Center. Read it so that you will know under what guidelines your money is being spent. This money I speak of goes to clubs, organizations, and sometimes individuals. It enables them to go on trips across the country and sometimes internationally. It also is the way the Executive Board is paid – you are paying them to work for you. I expect the people whom I’m paying to never close a door to me or tell me that what they’re discussing is private. I will be at every meeting and would love to see some of you there – when we aren’t being asked to leave the “meeting open to all” of course. I informed a member of the Executive Board that I would be writing this article, so it should come as no surprise to them. In fact, I hope they are awaiting your responses. If you feel you need, want, or are entitled to any more information, feel free to email them at
-Micah Anderson

10 responses to “Problems With AS&F Senate’s First Meeting”

  1. Micah,

    I am focused on Senate. I’ve been focused on Senate for quite some time. And, when someone who has a strong history with Senate launches what is effectively an attack ad against Senate, I feel the need to respond by defending Senate and its members – myself included.

    Perhaps I did so poorly. But, I stand by my statements, regardless. You may not think its personal, but when you imply that the Senators and Representatives of AS&F are not doing our jobs … it is personal.

    You don’t agree with my use of the word disingenuous towards your comments – fine. Maybe I should rephrase.

    In my opinion, I find it disingenuous for anyone to imply that the Senators and Representatives of AS&F are not doing their jobs by the use of such phrases as; “How many of you have been contacted by your senators about this matter? Are there any?” less than 48 hours after they received a directive they have two weeks to complete. Perhaps disingenuous is the wrong word, maybe I should have gone with insulting? Did you expect us to storm the campus with clipboards & surveys in hand? [For the record: I had already e-mailed the question to my club members, set up a Discussion topic on our Facebook page, and spoken to eight or ten members by the time your Commentary piece was published. I intend to follow-up with other members at our Tuesday meeting.]

    In my opinion, I find it disingenuous for anyone with three years of experience serving on a parliamentary body – who also had a hand in drafting its current Constitution and Bylaws – to grandstand on the Senate floor asking questions about a document they helped author, concerning a parliamentary process that anyone with three years of avowed experience should be familiar with. Executive sessions are a well-established part of the parliamentary process, and detailed in Robert’s Rules of Order – a globally recognized resource on parliamentary matters. It should have been an easy detail for anyone with three years of experience to find, unless the authors of the current Constitution and Bylaws didn’t bother to include its use by our student government in those documents.

    In my opinion, it is disingenuous for anyone to accuse our Executive Committee of responding to them with “rude, curt comments” without remembering comments such as “Senate will vote as it sees fit” when responding to an inquiry, and blowing off a scheduled meeting with an AS&F member who had valid Constitutional concerns. Maybe those incidents were unintentional … I don’t really know. I do know that when they happened to me they seemed rude, unprofessional, and yes, a little curt. Does the Executive Committee need to work on communication skills? Probably – but then again, so do you … and so do I.

    In my opinion, it is disingenuous in the extreme for anyone to imply that three years of experience on Senate trumps the opinions, skills and experience of anyone, no matter how long they may have been on campus. It is a divisive and elitist tactic, at best. I find it especially troubling to discount an Iraq War Veterans training and experience. Your response to Matthew Martinez had, in my opinion, a clear tone of “talking down” to someone who, at the very least, deserves our respect and thanks. Perhaps his “leadership” comment was out of line, but he called it like he saw it. As he is a newcomer to the organization, you might consider his perspective carefully and realize that what he saw is exactly the kind of image being projected – not one he invented just to annoy you.

    Also, it is my understanding that the 2010-2011, Thanksgiving/Fall Break schedule decision will not “be made by these senators,” as you stated – but that our feedback from the AS&F membership will be forwarded to campus administration and/or the Board of Trustees, who will, ultimately, have the final say. So, students will not have to take our decision and “deal with it” – we don’t actually have that authority. We will only provide the information we gather from the student body to the administration so they may make the best decision possible. That is, at least, what I understood from the information passed on at last Monday’s AS&F meeting.

    You are right, this should not be personal. But it is what you made it. I have no interest in getting into multiple rounds of repartee with you or anyone else. But, I will defend this campus, myself, and this organization against spurious attacks, exercising my free speech rights as I see fit – just as you are free to exercise yours.

    If you have real problems with AS&F, the Executive Board, or Senate, I respectfully suggest you arrange a meeting to discuss the issues and request the presence of one of AS&F’s Advisors, as well as one of the current Senators. But, if this is about venting because you got bumped from the room for an Executive Session, you may want to consider a different tactic.

    Dave Hargis
    Full-time ASC Staff (5+ years)
    Club Advisor (3+ years)
    Half-time ASC Student (3+ years)
    Senate “Watch Dog” (2+ years)
    Former Senator (1 year)
    Retail Sales & Management (10+ years)
    Downtown Merchants Board (2+ years)
    Former United State Marine (6 years)
    And, I’ve even been a paper boy (1 year)
    … just in case you want to keep track of experience.

    1. Though some of your comments were far from the truth and lacked background knowledge, as well as an all-around sense of how Student Government works, not to mention myself, I appreciate your response!

  2. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your response! I’m glad to see that people are reading the article. I would like for you to keep in mind while reading this that a lot of what I’m saying may not be fully understood, since it’s hinged upon my experience with Senate and Student Government in general. If there’s any confusion, I apologize in advance.

    As far as training for the Senate is concerned, that is what the annual retreat is for. The retreat is a time where the members can not only get to know how Senate works, but also get to know each other and become a closer group, instead of a collection of individuals, so that you can work together. I believe that most people, along with myself, expect for the Senators and Representatives to have a little confusion, but not the Executive Board. If they themselves are confused, how will they lead a group that is also confused? They are people who are ideally supposed to have experience working within Senate (although 2 out of the 5 don’t) so that they can guide you all in the right direction. I do agree that if the disorganization continues then the issues should continue to be addressed.

    I would ask that you remember that since you are new to Senate, that you may be unfamiliar with how things are supposed to go, or how they have gone in the past. My article was written with my past 3 years of Senate experience that have shown me how and why what occurred Monday night was wrong, and worthy of bringing a complaint against. Please know that I’m not saying everything should be done perfect, but I AM saying that everything should be done to the best of its ability. I believe that Senate can and should do better – even if it was the very first meeting of the year.

    I am more than willing to be a help to Senate, as I have in the past. The problem with that is it seems this year’s leadership does not want my help. I am responded to with rude, curt comments. That is the sole reason that I haven’t been helping already. I would like to see all aspects of ASC do well, and that includes the Senate. I sincerely hope it does not seem like I do not like or do not want anything but great things from and for the Senate.

    Since you and I lack both a personal and professional relationship, I would appreciate it if you would not comment on my “poor leadership skills, or lack there of”, being that you have no knowledge of what they may be.

    Though I don’t know you, I can say that in your willingness to respond you are a large asset to the Senate. You are in the right place, and I can not wait to watch your work. Again, thanks for your response.

  3. Micah,

    I just wanted to congratulate you on a very well written piece. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into this.


    1. Thanks, Jeni! I heard you’re the new GA for Senate – With your experience, I’m glad to see they made a good choice, and excited to see how you can help! Congratulations!

  4. Well said Matthew. And I agree, Leadership is Leadership. Even if the circumstances change, the core concepts really don’t. Campus, and the various organizations the make up our community, need constructive feedback and genuine participation, not disingenuous criticisms that fail to resolve the issues in question.

    1. Dave, you have no ground to stand upon and say my thoughts are disingenuous. Please refrain from personal comments and focus on Senate, the issue at hand. Thanks in advance.

  5. First of all I would like to state that I am new to Adams State and AS&F and the Monday meeting was my first. I did notice some disorginization with how the meeting was run and how it was carried out. However, due to no prior training and many senators having little to no experience with AS&F, it should be expected until further training is completed. If the disorginization still continues after that then the issues should be addressed as such. To complain however after one meeting is not looking at the whole picture, it is simply stating the start, and addressed problems that need to be resolved. No person is perfect and mistakes are made.
    The point that I would like to address is that with you having prior experience with AS&F, you should be more intent on helping out with the newer members and making sure things are carried out properly then to complain and call out things that are being done wrong and not offering guidence. In my 4 years in the Marine Corps which I held various leadership positions and lead Marines in Iraq, I was always taught that as a leader I need to teach the men below me my job so that when the time came that they are to take over, they can easily transition, and I should always help out to ensure the success and continued advancement of my unit. Now, I do understand that the consequences of not doing this are different from a Marine infantry unit to a student senete, however the concept is the same. If you are going to complain about how the meetings are being run, then you should be offering to help guide the newer members to ensure the continued success of AS&F. To not do this shows your poor leadership skills, or lack there of, or no desire to see the success of your former club.
    Again, I do understand that things were not carried out correctly in the meeting and need to be corrected, however the senior/former members of AS&F should also lend a hand to help correct this to ensure that the student government is run properly.

    1. Spell check please; then your comment might be taken seriously.

    2. I took his comments seriously, no spell-check required. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet