When it was announced that the University of California education system would be facing $4 billion in budget cuts, UC students were forced to realize that allies in their financial struggle would be few and far between. In the past months, state legislators, UC administrators and even California’s governor have all but turned their back on the state’s student population, leaving them starved for representation in matters that directly impact their higher education experience. Throughout this crisis, students have entrusted ASUCD leadership to responsibly allocate what little funds they control, hoping that their efforts would somehow relieve some of the financial burden currently facing students.
However, this past weekend’s ASUCD budget hearings, a three-day event which reviews the allocation of $10.5 million of student funds, began with a clear example of flagrant irresponsibility and negligence on the part of one student senator. Roughly an hour and a half into the hearings, GO senator Jesse Rosales arrived late and took his place at the senate table, prepared to serve the interests of the UC Davis students who had elected him in fall. The interruption provided by Rosales’ late arrival proved insignificant when compared to the fact that he had entered the meeting while clearly intoxicated. Several witnesses have attested to the senator’s drunken behavior, which interrupted a presentation by Campus Copies’ unit director, and ultimately resulted in Rosales being asked to leave the meeting.
While Rosales’ actions may have provided a small, yet comical, inconvenience to those that were present at the hearings, the real victims here are once again the underrepresented students of UC Davis. It is these students who have entrusted Rosales, along with the 11 other ASUCD Senators, with the responsibility of making informed and responsible decisions on their behalf. Rosales’ actions not only rob these students of their voice, but also undermine the credibility of the ASUCD Senate as a whole. How can students expect their elected officials to adequately operate their student government when an event as important as yearly budget hearings is treated with such little respect?
What makes matters worse is the very real possibility that Rosales will face no repercussions for his actions, and continue to neglect his obligations to better serve the UC Davis community. While such behavior could potentially warrant impeachment, or at the very least an official censure from ASUCD, it is much more likely that Rosales will escape with only a forced apology and the public embarrassment that will result from this incident. This lack of accountability within our student government represents a great injustice being done to UC Davis students, as well as tarnishes the office of ASUCD senator.
It is the purpose of this column to highlight and eradicate such blatantly irresponsible behavior from our very own student senate, not to incite a backlash against ASUCD. However, it may be time for elected officials within ASUCD realize that their office is one of service, not of social privilege, and that failure to adequately represent the students that elected them should ultimately result in the loss of office. At the very least, they should realize that we’re not paying them to drunkenly decide how to waste our money.
JAMES NOONAN believes that all elected officials, with the exception of the Kennedys, should abuse alcohol responsibly. All differing opinions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.