| 03.24.2018

Rethinking redistricting – ASUI senators decide fate on the redistricting resolution


After months of discussion, the proposed ASUI redistricting resolution culminated in a lively debate and a 6-6 vote. Without the majority vote needed, the resolution failed.

Resolution S16-01 would change the redistricting aspect of ASUI from organizing by living groups to dividing representation among the colleges.

ASUI senators debated the bill for 15 minutes before they voted. Sen. Mckenzie MacDonald sponsored the document and said she had put a lot of work into it.

“I was under the impression that the majority of the senate was on the same page of redistricting by college,” MacDonald said. “We have had that conversation before, but maybe we just weren”t having the right conversation.”

She said the conversation about redistricting will likely continue in ASUI senate, but they may approach the topic in a different way.

During the debate about S16-01, Sens. Tanner Beymer and Joe Madsen both vocally expressed their opposition to the resolution.

Beymer said the resolution may limit students from certain colleges.

“It creates a barrier to entry for other qualified candidates to come into the senate,” Beymer said. “When you are restricted by the number of students that can come from colleges, you”re still potentially denying the opportunity for one student of being elected because of the requirements that you have set forth.”

Beymer said he believes at-large districting would be the best form of representation on campus.

“It”s not our job to force students through the door to be represented in ASUI,” Beymer said. “It”s our job to make sure that the door is open to them so that if they want to step through, they are willing, welcome and able to.”

Sen. Madsen said the current system is not restricting colleges from reaching out to ASUI, so the resolution is not imperative.

“Just because we don”t have a diverse senate does not mean that we have a broken system,” Madsen said. “All it takes is a conversation with college representatives to represent the colleges.”

Sen. Rachael Miller, who supported the resolution, said a major problem with the districting system right now is that it pits living groups against each other.

“We are currently Greek versus non-Greek, which is not only misrepresentative but also offensive,” Miller said.

Sen. Kate Ricart also spoke out on this issue during the senate meeting in favor of the resolution.

“I don”t think this is forcing students at all, I think this is just encouraging them more,” Ricart said. “I don”t think the system is broken, but it can always be improved.”

ASUI President Max Cowan said he is supportive of S16-01 and believes it would benefit the university.

“The university administration is organized around colleges, so it makes sense for us to organize ourselves similarly,” Cowan said. “Not only would students be engaged, but faculty would be more invested if they had an ASUI senator who represents their college.”

Sen. Madsen said the resolution is unnecessary and addresses an imaginary problem.

“I think the discussion begins with the question: do we have a fundamental problem?” Madsen said. “That is where I part from the resolution”s logic.”

Jessica Gee  can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @JessicaC_Gee

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