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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

ASUCD senate fails to override vetoed no-confidence vote

Heated debate over ASUCD President Joe Chatham’s decision to veto Senate Resolution Nine dominated the last ASUCD senate meeting of the fall quarter.

Appeals to override Chatham’s veto proved fruitless, however. The senate remained divided when the veto was called to question, and its six to six vote did not meet the two-thirds requirement for overriding the veto.

The senate passed the resolution in question two weeks prior on the steps of Mrak Hall to show a stance of no confidence for UC President Mark Yudof. In addition to the senators and commission officers normally in attendance at the weekly senate meetings, hundreds of students that participated in the protest were present to voice their support for the resolution and objection to its veto.

Hours of heated exchange between members of the senate and public had the senate split between arguments on the wording of the resolution, whether or not the site of the protest was an appropriate forum for discussion and also how the outcome of this subsequent meeting’s veto decision would be perceived by the student body.

“It is disappointing that this resolution has been vetoed,” said Mo Torres, former ASUCD senator and author of SR #9. “This resolution was passed in a beautiful environment. Had it been passed in this room, it wouldn’t have been on AGTV and the news. It would not have had the same meaning if it was passed here.”

Chatham attributed his decision to veto the resolution to his belief that the senate would be making too broad a statement in addressing and reprimanding the leadership of the University. Chatham believed the resolution’s terms could be misconstrued to include the likes of Brett Burns, Mark Champagne, Bruce Campbell and other administrators known for working with pay-cuts to maintain the university’s quality.

“Making a vote of no confidence is not productive,” Chatham said. “It essentially calls for people to resign, and that’s not what we are asking for. I’ve written an alternative resolution that highlights some specific demands, including a fee reduction schedule, greater transparency and greater cooperation with the students. I think that students, staff and faculty need to partner with the regents to voice our opinions in Sacramento.”

Chatham also felt that Mrak Hall was not a suitable setting for passing the resolution, citing the inability of senators to voice their objections and potential amendments in the midst of the protest.

Yet some pointed out that there was ample opportunity for discussion following the protest, citing the senate’s return to the MU Mee room at about 10 p.m., during which no one voiced their concerns.

“When people announced that there was going to be an ASUCD meeting held, everyone [at the protest] was quiet,” said Jackie Limon, Academic Affairs Commission chair. “They wanted to hear what the ASUCD student government had to say. I thought they were really respectful. They were all waiting to hear the resolution. It’s not our fault that you were intimidated.”

Several speakers including Senator Trevor Taylor and Gender and Sexuality Commission Chair Sara Raridon suggested a compromise in the form of passing both resolutions.

“We’re talking a lot about the students who were arrested,” said Raridon, who was among those arrested at Mrak. “I got straight out of jail and someone handed me the resolution, and I cried. I was so unbelievably proud of this group of students. We can do both. We’ve already passed a resolution concerning the fee hikes. Joe Chatham does not have the final say in our advocacy.”

Despite unsuccessful appeals for the override of the veto and passing of both resolutions, senators and speakers addressed Chatham’s proposed alternative resolution.

Both Limon and Torres called Chatham’s resolution plagiarism for its similarity to SR #9, the latter requesting to be credited coauthor in spite of his distaste for the new legislation.

ARNOLD LAU can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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