Meeting called after veto

Tensions ran high during an emergency senate meeting on April 10 to discuss Student Body President Nick Creamer’s veto of a bill that would allocate an additional $2,000 to UNDIA for its buffalo feed on April 12. The buffalo feed is an annual event held during the UNDIA’s Time Out Week Wacipi Powwow. Although the issue was voted on twice, the veto was not overturned.

The bill was brought up at the senate meeting on March 30 and approved after the senators compromised the bill from an original allocation of $4,000 down to $2,000. Creamer vetoed the bill on April 7 and an emergency meeting was scheduled for later that week after the AIS was left to try and find funding with less than a week before the event.

Creamer cited two reasons for vetoing the bill:, the first being the initial $20,000 allocated to UNDIA came with an understanding that this would be sufficient to cover the costs of the powwow.

The second reason that this amount was already two and a half times the amount other student organizations are allocated when they ask for funds.

“I think it’s important to override this veto,” senator Kyle Thorson said. “We had great discussion Sunday, but everyone left unhappy because we compromised. I don’t think it’s fair to veto something in such a short time frame.”

Senator Brian Tschosik was against overturning the veto because of feedback he received.

“I’m voting ‘no’ in respect to my constituents,” Tschosik said. “They are against the bill, not the veto.”

Twelve senators were able to make it to the emergency meeting and spent fewer than 10 minutes discussing the bill before voting. The motion to overturn the veto failed, and the floor was opened to public comment where many members of the community and senate voiced their opinions.

“There are deep tensions related to the American Indian populations,” Thorson said. “Tensions are running high both ways. There were words said that were very hurtful. We need to build community rather than tear it down.”

Thorson said he would be making a personal contribution to help raise the money for the feed. After the veto, several private donors stepped up to help cover costs, but with the bill not going through, UNDIA was still left short.

“Whether or not you voted for or against it or vetoed it, we’d like to see you at the event,” Robert Rainbow said. “But why do we have to fill this room? Let’s have more conversations. It’s about relationships. What can you do on each of your levels? I’m honored to come here and be allowed to speak.”

Rainbow also brought up fights on Twitter after Creamer’s veto. Both supporters of the bill, opponents to the bill and members of senate took to the social media site to voice their opinions.

“It’s difficult to correspond in 140 characters or less,” Government Affairs Coordinator John Mitzel said. “When we get everyone in one room to talk about complexities of this year, it’s more productive. I want to thank everyone for coming and giving their input.”

Mitzel and Creamer also announced they would be making personal contributions to the buffalo feed.

After debate between members of the audience and senate, Thorson asked members of senate to reconsider previous action, making senate eligible to vote on the issue again.

“Nothing about this has been ideal,” senator Philip Jensen said. “In the future, hopefully, we have better dialogue. It starts today with $2,000. I beg you to do the right thing.”

Thorson pleaded with the senators to consider overturning the veto and to think about the issue of hospitality on the UND campus.

“It must be disheartening to see funds chipped away year after year after year,” Thorson said. “We can especially so when we spend $250,000 on a concert. Say yes — we want to be hospitable.”

After another vote on overturning the veto, senate members once again voted against it. Conversations between senate members and community members opened new doors and hope for future conversations to be productive.

“I will not quit. I will be back every year, and I hope to turn a new leaf and start new,” UND Indian Association Vice President RJ Morin said. “Be our friend. Lets start that conversation. We are one school, one UND.”

Megan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].