The final decision regarding the controversial senate resolution passed in front of Mrak Hall has been made. Moving a meeting without 24 hours advanced notice was unconstitutional, and therefore the minutes have been deemed invalid, according to the ASUCD court.
After receiving notice of student protests against fee increases on Nov. 19, 2009, the ASUCD senate voted to reconvene their meeting amid the crowd in front of Mrak Hall. At this location, former senator Mo Torres proposed his Senate Resolution 9, which included a vote of no confidence in UC President Mark Yudof on behalf of ASUCD.
“There needs to be a notice posted 24 hours in advance of a change in time and place of a senate meeting – and in this case there was no notice until the moment of, when they posted the meeting location change on the door,” said Ryan Meyerhoff, ASUCD Court vice chief justice.
Although Torres’ resolution was officially vetoed by ASUCD President Joe Chatham a week after the contested senate meeting, the court’s decision officially invalidated its premise, citing improper procedures in which the meeting took place – regardless of the content in Torres’ proposed resolution.
“I supported the original resolution because I felt that I could personally relate to the issue, and because of what happened with the protests and ASUCD being there, it took on a bit of symbolism that I thought was important in solidarity with the students,” said Senator Abrham Castillo-Ruiz, who worked alongside senators Joel Juarez, Bree Rombi, Justin Gold and the Academic Affairs Commission to propose a rewritten resolution to Chatham.
Even after Chatham’s veto, many senators reserved strong opinions on the original resolution. These views were incorporated into the revision process of the resolution, which restated many of Torres’ original goals, but omitted the language stating a “vote of no confidence” in Yudof.
In the revised resolution, passed Jan. 21, the authors encouraged the UC administration to work with student leadership and to create a fee reduction schedule. The schedule would address the extreme circumstances under which fees were raised, and to cap drastic fee increases in the future.
“The validity of the meeting in front of Mrak was challenged, and I agree – it wasn’t a good place for discussion to happen, and there really wasn’t much discussion that took place,” said Chatham, who vetoed Torres’ original bill. “But [Torres] was right that we needed to take a stand on the issues, so in the new resolution we took a lot of the good parts and incorporated them into new ones – those being more concrete with what we’re asking Yudof and the regents to do.”
The revised resolution received support from both sides of the Senate table and passed last month with a vote of 8-1-3.
“I voted to keep the original resolution because it meant a lot to the students who were protesting and that were arrested,” said senator Andre Lee, who was against Chatham’s veto but supported the rewritten resolution. “This one was a lot more constructive, thoughtful and well researched, and it gives the original resolution a second chance to have the legitimacy that it needed.”
MICHELLE IMMEL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.