The ASUCD senate table was suspiciously barren at its first meeting last Thursday night.
Three of the 12 senators that students elected as representatives failed to show up, while still collecting paychecks that come from student fees. This is completely unacceptable.
Let’s start with Joyce Han and Anni Kimball. Coincidentally, these two missing senators are members of the same sorority. We believe it safe to say they skipped Thursday’s meeting for recruitment events, and we’re disturbed that they would prioritize a selective group over the needs of the whole student body. They prioritized something they pay for over something every student pays them to do.
The fact that this happened the first meeting of the quarter is setting a dangerous, dangerous precedent. Going to senate meetings is a vital requirement of the job. It’s where officials vote on bills, allocate money and hear from the public. We hope senators realize that when they run for office and start accepting paychecks comprised of student fees, ASUCD should always come first.
That brings us to the third missing senator: Yara Zokaie. Zokaie is in San Diego, attending law school. That’s cool and all, but we’re concerned she’s still insistent on keeping her seat.
Zokaie cannot possibly serve students sufficiently when she’s so far away. It’s simple. She’s not voting at senate meetings, and she can’t truly understand the current needs of UC Davis students when she is no longer a student at UC Davis.
If Zokaie were to step down, the president would look for a replacement. Zokaie told The Aggie that she is keeping her seat for political reasons, and we find that petty. Maybe Zokaie truly believes that her actions are merited, but the fact of the matter is that students deserve to have full representation on the senate table.
We elected 12 senators. We expect 12 senators present at every meeting.
But what is even more ridiculous and petty than Zokaie’s decision is that ASUCD President Rebecca Sterling is looking into removing Zokaie unlawfully. This is ridiculous. Even though we wish Zokaie would step down, the ASUCD bylaws still need to be followed. That means it is not the president’s place to make such a decision, it is up to the judicial branch of student government. Without the bylaws, we are potentially allowing chaos to ensue.
The president should be bringing the student government together and be a leader by focusing on policy. However, there is a clear division on the table that anyone who attends senate meetings regularly can see. This extreme and visible tension between senators is clearly inhibiting their ability to do what’s best for UC Davis students.
We hope our elected leaders can focus on what their jobs truly mean — to represent student interests, not personal ones.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on Oct. 4 to reflect accurate information.