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ASPSU senate divided

Discussions were heated Friday afternoon when ASPSU senators became divided over a recent Evaluation and Constitutional Review Committee (E&CR) ruling.

Some senators felt that the E&CR ruling, which invalidated the Oct. 4, 2002 senate meeting in which five members were dismissed from the senate, was unreasonable.

Senator Dimitris Desyllas spoke out against the E&CR and members of the senate who are part of the E&CR, particularly Sen. Michael-Sean Kelly. Desyllas claimed that Kelly did not tell them the E&CR was discussing the ASPSU in their meetings.

When Desyllas asked to know who was behind the E&CR decisions and exclaimed that “secrecy became an issue,” Sen. Rebecca Pierce replied, “It seems like you’re talking about a conspiracy theory.”

“I think the senate deserves an answer and deserves an answer now,” Desyllas said, adding he wanted to hear responses from Kelly and ASPSU President Kristin Wallace.

Kelly interjected, “I’m not on trial here.”

Pierce supported Kelly and the E&CR, saying the senate should be working with them, not against them.

Wallace reinforced this idea, adding, “I think it’s really important that we smooth things out.”

Sen. Kara MacKillop became frustrated with the back-and-forth arguments. “We don’t even know what the E&CR has decided,” she said.

Annie Stewart, vice chair of the E&CR, tried to clarify things. She stated that on Jan. 14, the E&CR ruled that the ASPSU senate meeting on Oct. 4 was unconstitutional because it had been called within less than 48 hours of meeting time, as the ASPSU constitution stipulates.

In response to Desyllas’ earlier allegations that the E&CR had been in violation of Oregon state meeting law by closing off the meeting to the public, Stewart added that the E&CR had come to the same conclusion. Due to this decision, she said, the E&CR will reopen and re-vote on the Oct. 4 meeting in a new, constitutional meeting.

The senate continued deliberating over the E&CR decision, despite Stewart’s clarification. Sen. Maude Bowman suggested giving the issue to a senatorial committee to investigate, so that it would not take up so much of the senate’s meeting time.

However, some senators did not like this idea.

“I hate that it takes so much time, but it’s important that we all can discuss it,” Sen. Pollyanne Birge said.

Sen. Caine Lowery supported Birge, adding that the issue “should be resolved within the ASPSU senate.”

The senate broke quorum before a decision could be reached, but it was clear that senators were still divided over their support for or against the E&CR.

“I think they’re doing their job…a good job,” MacKillop said later of the E&CR.

Earlier in the senate meeting, Bowman resigned as pro-tempore, despite encouragement and praise she received from several senators.

“I need to resign,” she said. “I think you deserve someone who can stay on the ball.”