The Senate is the legislative branch of ASUAF. The constitution of ASUAF provides for up to 20 student senators; however, the current bylaws specify 16 seats, divided into eight spring seats (A-H) and eight fall seats (I-M). Spring seats are elected through the spring election while fall seats are elected through the fall election. The Senate is led by the Senate chair. The most basic duties of the Senate are to amend and enact the bylaws, endorse resolutions, formulate and propose policies and hold elected and appointed officials of ASUAF accountable to the duties of their positions. Other powers and duties may be found in the bylaws.
By custom, the Senate has taken on other responsibilities such as planning and implementing events for the student body.
Simply put, it is the duty of all senators to represent and advocate for UAF students.
Senators should make themselves known and available to students so that students may
approach senators with issues and concerns. Senators should assist with connecting
students with appropriate resources and, when appropriate, propose legislation or
other action to address issues of importance to the student body. Being trustworthy,
approachable, knowledgeable and honest are critical to a student's success as a senator.
Senators are also required to attend Senate meetings, serve on at least one standing committee, hold office hours and perform other procedural duties as outlined by the bylaws.
Senators must be members of ASUAF in good academic standing (semester and cumulative GPA greater than 2.0). Students in their first semester at UAF may serve as a senator without a UAF GPA, contingent upon achieving a GPA of at least 2.0.
A conflict of interest is officially defined as "a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity." In the context of ASUAF, this is often taken to mean that senators may not vote on any legislation that involves them in any way; however, there are only few expressed conflicts of interest outlined in the bylaws:
No ASUAF employee shall simultaneously hold more than one of the following positions: ASUAF President, ASUAF Vice President, KSUA General Manager, or Polaris News Editor-in-Chief at any time during the employee's period of employment.
No ASUAF Director may also be a Senator.
No ASUAF Senator may vote on any motion directly affecting their position of employment within ASUAF.
When legislation explicitly addresses a senator, then that senator must abstain from all votes pertaining to the legislation.
When legislation may result in a direct benefit to a senator, any ASUAF senator may call for a vote to determine if that senator may vote on the legislation. This motion does require a 2nd and must pass by a 3/4ths vote of the Senate.
Thus, a senator may vote for a bill they sponsor and vote for themselves to be confirmed to a nomination, but the Senate may need to vote whether or not to allow a senator to vote on a bill that would provide them travel funding.
Candidates run for specific at-large ASUAF Senate seats. This means that the senators do not represent specific constituencies, but occupy seats designated with the letters A through P.
Spring seats are labeled seats A through H. Spring seats are elected in the spring semester. Fall seats are labeled seats H through P. Fall seats are elected in the fall semester of each year.
If for any reason, a senator is unable to fill their term, the President may appoint an ASUAF member to finish the remainder of the vacated seat. This appointment is subject to Senate approval.
Senate Standing Committees