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ASG senate holds elections, Speaker Pro Tempore resigns

Miami University's Associated Student Government (ASG) filled eight of its 11 open seats, swearing in seven new senators and a new Secretary for On-Campus Affairs, at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5.

ASG will hold elections for the remaining three seats during the next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The senate will elect two senators-at-large, meaning candidates can come from any district, and a On-Campus Senator for the 8th district. ASG mistakenly advertised the 8th district position as an open 7th district seat prior to the Feb. 5 meeting, so the election was pushed back a week.

Speaker Pro Tempore Tatum Andres officially resigned after Tuesday's meeting, saying she wished to focus on preparing to take the LSAT. Adrian Radilla, current off-campus senator for the 2nd district, plans to run for the position during tonight's meeting.

The meeting began with senate approving the minutes from Monday's funding hearings, along with an update from Secretary of Finance Caroline Weimer.

Weimer reported that there was an issue with 31 student organizations that felt they had been incorrectly placed in a tier of the Red Brick Rewards ASG funding system that was not eligible to have funding hearings.

Because this was discovered late in the afternoon on Monday, Feb. 4, the day of the funding hearings, the funding committee decided to cancel the hearings for those organizations and ask them to provide evidence that they were in the incorrect funding tier. If evidence could be provided, the funding committee planned to schedule an emergency funding hearing.

The committee decided against granting exceptions to the organizations without evidence that they were in the incorrect tier. Weimer explained that ASG felt it would be unfair to the student organizations who were in the same situation last semester and that it would go against the mission of the Red Brick Rewards system, which is to encourage fiscal responsibility.

The funding committee budgeted $197,000 for the February hearing and approved $169,000 worth of student organizations' requests. The remaining $27,000 will be left over for the organizations in the incorrect tier. Those organizations' funding requests totaled $58,000, so slightly less than half of the total funding requests can be granted, should ASG approve them.

Junior Effie Fraley, junior Will Ziegert and first-year Trey Petrella all ran for the Secretary for On-Campus Affairs seat. All three candidates mentioned meal plan reform and health issues in their speeches to the body.

Fraley highlighted their plan to institute pharmacy vending machines on campus that would offer aspirin, among other first-aid needs, and also expressed their desire to look into reducing laundry costs for students.

Ziegert pointed out that he held the secretary position before studying abroad last semester and planned to look into changes to the Ingress (one-door) policy.

Petrella planned to focus on preventing sexual assault and increasing inclusivity. He emphasized his passion for the position, declaring that, if elected, he would not accept the salary that accompanies ASG executive cabinet positions.

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After questioning and debate, the senate confirmed Fraley.

The remaining elections all featured unopposed candidates.

Junior Claire Keller, senior Bobby Adler, first-year Demetre Carnot and junior Jennifer Brown all ran unopposed and were confirmed as off-campus senators.

Sophomore Izzy Arbetter was confirmed as the on-campus senator representing the 5th district, which includes Hamilton Hall, Richard Hall, MacCracken Hall, Etheridge Hall and Porter Hall.

First-year Omar Elghazawi was confirmed as an academic senator representing the soft sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.

First-year Kelsey Bittel was confirmed as an academic senator representing the College of Education, Health and Society.

Despite ASG's diversity marketing plan --which involved flyers and sending election information to "as many listservs as possible" in hopes of increasing the diversity of the senate -- only two of the seven senators elected are students of color. Many candidates and senators expressed a desire to see more student involvement in general.