Student senators not meeting constituents’ expectations

By By Patrick Muir

By Patrick Muir

Several members of the ASUU Senate have not been attending their meetings, according to Fall Semester’s Senate attendance records.

As student-elected officials, members of the Associated Students of the University of Utah Senate’s jobs includes representing the U’s 16 separate colleges, appropriating funds, sponsoring and voting on bills, meeting three times per month and overseeing student advisory committees (SACs).

“We’ve been placed in a position of great responsibility. We are the voice of the students,” said Bryce Peterson, head chairperson of the group.

During the Fall Semester, Senate meetings had an average 75 percent attendance rate. The least-attended meeting throughout the semester was the College of Student Council meeting-where SAC leaders meet to discuss funding-with 67 percent attendance.

Matt Weilenman, a freshman majoring in parks and recreation, said he would like to see some improvement.

“If they are senators and if they are over something as important as funding to student groups, they should have at least 95 percent attendance to those meetings,” he said.

Nearly one-third of the Senate’s members failed to attend a single CSC meeting. These members include: Angela Velez-Alvey, Health; Dan Kunz, Law; Matt Jensen, Fine Arts; Danielle Fowles, Humanities; and Cam Au, Pharmacy.

Velez-Alvey holds the award for the most absent senator, who attended only two of the 10 meetings last semester, but sent proxies to two meetings.

“Angela got married in the middle of last semester, which caused her to miss some meetings, but she has bent over backwards to attend to students’ needs. I do feel she is doing her best to represent the students,” Peterson said in her defense. “The Senate has depth in numbers, so things are still covered if a senator misses a meeting.”

Erika Roner, a graduate student in dietetics, is disappointed with Velez-Alvey’s performance.

“She should do her job. She’s probably busy, but she should have known that before she ran. It’s not good what she has done for our college,” Roner said.

In November, Velez-Alvey helped represent the students of the college of health by sponsoring Senate Bill 52. The bill requested $1,912.50 in funding for 60 members of the Physical Therapy Graduate Student Advisory Council to attend a conference. After reviewing the bill, the Senate granted $85 in funding because budget guidelines allow funding for only two travelers.

Fortunately, Bryce Peterson has set an example for the other senators to follow. He made it to all 17 of his meetings last semester. He also sat down with senators during Winter Break to discuss their responsibilities.

Those interested in learning more about the Senate and its operation can visit

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