The Student Government Senate voted against a resolution that would fund the 9/11 Memorial on Tuesday night.
The vote consisted of 15 senators in favor, 28 against and two abstentions. The senators conducted more than an hour of discussion on the issue. SG would have had to allocate about $65,000 from the ASRC Budget Recommendation, a committee that allocates the students’ Activities Services Fees for next year.
Stavros Papandreou, senate president, said the debate should have been minimal if the senators went to the students with the issue.
“It doesn’t matter what I think, but what the students think,” Papandreou said. “If you (had) gone out and talked to the students, there should have been no reason for such a long discussion.”
Elena Vee, an SG senator for the College of Visual and Performing Arts who represents the two artists of the memorial, said she is disappointed about the outcome of the resolution and for the two artists who designed it: Barron Hall, a paint and drawing area coordinator at USF, and Aimee Font-Sanborn, a USF architecture student.
“I think they both will be disappointed,” Vee said. “If the senators went out and voted based on what their constituents (students) said, than that is all I can ask for. That is what we are here to do, represent the students and that was what I was trying to do, represent my constituents.”
During the Sept. 21 meeting, Papandreou requested that all senators find out what USF students thought about having a memorial dedicated to the 9/11 attacks. The results of those surveys were presented to the Senate on Tuesday night, and although not scientific, the results are a representation of what students think.
About 1130 students were surveyed; 435 students said no, 10 were undecided and 685 said yes to have the 9/11 Memorial.
The results of the SG survey differ from a random poll taken by The Oracle on Sept. 22, where, out of 226 students, 108 students said no, 43 said yes, 16 had no opinion and 61 said the memorial was a good idea but was too costly.
Several students were divided on the issue and spoke on the senate floor Tuesday night about whether or not senators should vote for the 9/11 Memorial.
Maxon Victor, SG senator of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the senators should vote for the resolution to show the students and the community that 9/11 is something to remember and to show spirit.
“When will USF not be a commuter school?” Victor said. “This is about USF school spirit and to do something different for USF.”
T. Hampton Dohrman, senate president pro tempore, said school spirit should not be taken into account and that a 9/11 Memorial would not serve as a remembrance for senators but rather for those who died.
“Students just don’t feel it is relevant and (they say) that it costs too much,” Dohrman said.
For more than two years, the issue of building the 9/11 Memorial has been brought to the Senate floor. The idea came from former student body President Mike Griffin. Griffin also proposed to fund the memorial and allocate $50,000 in fall 2002. The USF Physical Plant selected a site located beside the Student Services Building in a circular area surrounded by trees. In December 2002, a project/selection committee was formed by the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the decision was made to select students from the School of Art and Art History and the School of Architecture to form design teams. Then, during the spring 2003 semester, these teams were part of a workshop made specifically for the purpose of designing a memorial.
However, Griffin had no authority over budget matters and did not submit a budget request for the project in the proper amount of time, Papandreou said Tuesday night.
Vee said she will continue to see if there is a possibly for some type of a 9/11 Memorial.
“We will continue to find ways to fund it,” she said.