Johnson_ASUM gavel

The Associated Students of the University of Montana saw internal shifting ahead of Thanksgiving break at its Nov. 9 meeting. With only two left before the end of the semester, Alysa Curry resigned her role as a senator within ASUM.

Curry served as the chair of the interview committee and the chair of the marketing and outreach committee. ASUM has not yet voted on replacements for her committee positions.

“It became increasingly impossible to function passionately within a senate body I felt unsupported in,” Curry stated in a letter read on the senate floor. “I knew it would not be sustainable for me to have to beg individuals to show up for tabling committee meetings and constantly preach cooperation in a body that places their personal values over the good of the students.”

Curry stated that her main reason for resigning her seat was due to mental health. She did not give a direct comment to the Kaimin, and was not present at the meeting when Vice President Alexandra Berna read her resignation letter.

Inclusive Language

Curry also said she was disappointed in the discussion around gendered language in the student input survey. ASUM sent out the survey in the middle of November to learn what issues students want advocacy for in the upcoming legislative session.

ASUM approved an amendment to change stating one’s “sex” in the survey to sharing one’s “gender.” The amendment asked to change the question from asking whether a student was male or female, to presenting “man, woman, non-binary/gender queer, other and prefer not to say” as the options. 

This proposed amendment divided the room, and led to discussion around inclusivity.

“Inclusivity on the basis of language is the smallest thing you can do to advocate and represent all students,” Curry stated.

Senator Taylor Curry gave a public comment as a student at the beginning of the meeting on the use of the gendered language in the survey.

“The entire conversation against the gender appropriate language serves the same purpose to restrict the core values of advocacy, passivity and community,” Curry said.

Confidentiality Change

ASUM also passed a resolution that amends its bylaws on the interview committee process. This is in response to a slip of confidentiality within the interview committee during the hiring process of new senators in early October.

The bill was authored by Senator Maggie Bell, Senator Emma Wickum, and Vice President Alexandra Berna in hopes of updating bylaws that the bill states are “outdated, ambiguous and in need of revision.”

“It serves to check both the members of the committee and ASUM in staying equitable, timely and fair in every aspect of applying and interviewing,” Bell said in a statement to the Kaimin.

ASUM has passed six resolutions so far this semester. ASUM saw 43 resolutions by its Nov. 10 meeting last fall.

The amendments make it so all applications for the process are public, but any recorded interview will be private and only seen by committee members. This is in the hope to balance transparency, consent and the respect of the people involved according to the bill authors.

The amendment also touches on the fact that all the applicants should be treated with respect throughout the interviewing process.

“The changes are definitely necessary and a long time coming,” Bell stated.

The bill passed unanimously.

There was no senate meeting on Nov. 16 as several members attended the Board of Regents Meeting in Bozeman from Nov. 17 to Nov. 18, the same week as the Brawl of the Wild took place. ASUM did not cancel its meeting on the equivalent week last fall and brought their total resolutions considered up to 48 that meeting, but ASUM President Elizabeth Bowles said the schedule change is not unheard of.

“ASUM in the past few years has also encouraged the attendance of this meeting given its connection to student government and the University. Therefore, we often do not hold senate the week of BOR,” Bowles said.

ASUM will hold its penultimate meeting on Nov. 30.