Danny Reinan, staff writer
Last week saw Augsburg facing a historical moment, as Augsburg University Student Ministries (AUSM) initiated a referendum – only the second in Augsburg’s history – to overturn a decision made by Augsburg Day Student Government (ADSG).
The decision in question was made by ADSG’s Chartering and Commissioning Committee, who allocate funding to student organizations and serve as a bridge between student organizations and the whole of ADSG. Student organizations must present in February about how they intend to use their funds in order to either receive a budget or be decommissioned by the Committee, but due to a scheduling error, AUSM arrived late to their set presentation time and, after a 6-5 secret vote conducted by the Committee, were not allowed to present at all. The members of AUSM rallied the student body behind them by putting together a petition of 255 student signatures to call for a referendum, which was sent out to students early last week. The referendum would need a two-thirds majority of students voting on it to vote in favor of giving AUSM a second chance to present to the Committee. AUSM blew this goal out of the water when 85% of the voters chose in their favor, giving AUSM another chance to state their case to the Committee. AUSM was notified of the referendum turnout last Wednesday morning, and was given the opportunity to present to the Committee the very same evening. Ultimately, the Committee’s secret ballot also turned out in their favor, resulting in a 11-1 vote. AUSM’s next steps are clear: “On Wednesday, March 11th, I will make a motion for the senators of ADSG to vote; they can vote to approve or deny [AUSM’s budget],” explained Brittany Stokes, the Senior Class President and Chair of the Chartering and Commissioning Committee.
Ian Heseltine, Student Deacon and Co-President of AUSM, was thrilled about the outcome. “We are so enthusiastic for the outcome of the referendum and the presentation,” he said. “This was a key moment for our student body. Our students are allowed to not agree with ADSG decisions, and there’s [sic] steps that you can take to reverse actions. We look forward to hearing from ADSG and again are ever so grateful for the support of the student body, it really means a lot.”
Sarah Swindall, the Augsburg University Pastoral Intern, echoed this sense of relief. “It’s a big relief knowing that so much of the student body is supportive of what AUSM is doing on campus,” she said. “It’s great to know that there was such support from the Commissioning Committee. I know that the students who are a part of the organization are relieved that this situation has come to a happy conclusion for everybody.”
Photo by Danny Reinan of student deacons holding last week’s article about their referendum