The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Thought you should know….

By [email protected]


I thought you would like to see what I receieved in my inbox today.

Carrie FerreraSenior, Sociology

Dear Ms. Ferrera,Thank you for your comments in the Chronicle in Janurary 24th edition. My name is Brandon Lee and I am your senator. It is wonderful to hear from students, if only through the Chronicle. I understand your concern and your outrage. I am as well, but not about the Senate’s attendance, but of the writing of the article. As you may be familiar, meetings are not the only thing the Senate does, but is a large portion of the work. But looking just at these numbers, it does not do justice for many of the senators. The senator from Law, Dan Kunz is the newest member of the Senate, replacing a senator that had resigned. Senator Kunz thus was not held to be at meetings when he was not the senator at the time, but is not reflected in this chart. Senator Jensen from the College of Fine Arts represents the College, but cannot submit any bills because of how the college is structured. His attendance is not mandatory, like it is for the other senators. The College of Fine Arts has the Fine Arts Council, thus cannot petition ASUU for any additional money. In addition, the article shows an undergraduate bias. Not all senators are undergraduates. The Colleges of Medicine and Law are definitively different than the other colleges. These two colleges are often the only graduate students in the Senate, but this year, Senator Kendell from Architecture is a graduate student and Senator Au from Pharmacy can be considered as a graduate student. These differences are important and necessary. Taking these discrepancies into account, if we excuse the Senator from Medicine for missing exactly one meeting for being on call at the hospital, that puts five senators with 100% attendance, not to mention the other senators who have school and other conflicts that arise that steer their attention away from senate. While not admirable, it is not failing either.

I help coordinate the Service House at Officer’s Circle at the dorms, getting the RAs together is a very difficult task. In addition, the RAs get much more in compensation than I do. We do get compensated for the meetings we attend, $25 a meeting. If you miss any meeting you do not get paid. For me, that $25 a meeting boils down to about $1.07 an hour for last semester. It really isn’t about the money.

A little more about student fees: $20.40 goes to ASUU from student fees. This is a lot of money, but about $9 of this $20 goes to Presenter’s Office. The rest is is apportioned to the Senate, Assembly, and the different projects of the Executive Branch. Compensation is about $.50 of this $20. One question is is constantly raised is where does the rest of student fees go to? Buil.ding maintenance, power and electricity, and other miscelleneeous items. The bulk of student fees are items that the state legislature should be paying for, but aren’t. The legislative session is right now.

I am your senator from the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, which means I represent the largest sector of the university. In addition, I am the only returning senator from last year. I would love and appreciate being able to talk and know all my constituents, but with thousands of students, it is a bit difficult. I try, but it is unrealistic to know and talk with each of my constituents. My information can be found at the ASUU website, in ASUU, at the College, in the departments, at the Bennion Center, at CESA, in the Union, and a host of other places.

Just like everything on this campus, the purpose of ASUU and of the Senate is to be a learning experience. Just like the Chronicle and the lack of professionalism critique, the students who work at the Chronicle are students as well and are constantly changing and shifting. Focusing the entire article on one senator is rude and unprofessional. My condolences go out to Angela. No mention was made of the four senators who did make it to all the meetings. Suzanne Harrington from Nursing, Natanya Miller from Education, Bryce Peterson from Science, another new senator, Ryan Yoshida from Engineering, and myself, and three of these have additional meetings that other senators do not have to go to.

I represent the students. I am also learning to be a better representative and learning what that truly means. I challenge you to ask questions, to be involved, to increase the knowledge you have of what I do and what ASUU is and what it should do for you. Know what your student fees are going to. Go to a senate meeting. Make your issues known. Thank you for your time and feedback. Please contact me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Brandon Lee


Social & Behavioral Sciences

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