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Davis, California

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Measure 1 update: It’s complicated

Due to a lack of transparency in ASUCD and the UC Davis administration, the passing and campaign of Ballot Measure 1 has been needlessly hindered. Elections started on Feb. 18 and end Feb. 21 at 8 a.m. On Feb. 11, in an urgent senate meeting, the UC Davis Administration (Student Affairs) introduced the UC Davis Policies and Procedures Manual (PPM) to the table.

Associate Vice Chancellor Milton Lang and Student Affairs Comptroller Tracy Bennett made a presentation voicing Student Affairs’ disapproval of language in Ballot Measure 1 with regard to statements about fair wages, the oversight board and return to aid. The PPM outlined the campus’ requirements for student fee initiatives, but it was obvious that no one besides administration knew what they were, where to find them or that they even existed.

The administrators suggested raising the required 25 percent fee to 43 percent to follow campus practice. The majority of the table expressed disapproval of a change in the fee a week before elections started, especially since no one knew about the 43 percent procedure before it was suggested.

In addition to raising the fee, Student Affairs suggested that Student Services Fees and Administrative Advisory Committee (SSFAAC) be responsible for future oversight of the fee revenue instead of the Campus Media Board. SSFAAC advises the chancellor, the provost and executive vice chancellor through Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Adela de la Torre to determine specific allocations of fees for the campus.

The authors of the bill chose Campus Media Board to oversee the potential fee revenue to avoid administration involvement in an independent, student-run news source. After discussion and a possible compromise to change oversight to SSFAAC with a formal recommendation from Campus Media Board, senators brought the ASUCD bylaws and constitution to attention. ASUCD President Carly Sandstrom brought the PPM up, and the contradiction of campus policy and student government bylaws was apparent.

Making any changes to the ballot measure a week before elections (the bylaw states that there needs to be four weeks before elections for changes to happen) would void the fee initiative on ASUCD’s end, but Student Affairs has the ability to kill the fee initiative based on virtually unknown campus policies. Even Internal Affairs Commission Chair Spencer McManus stated that the PPM isn’t the first Google search result.

At 4:15 p.m., Lang brought up his 5 p.m. deadline and demanded that the table take action. For 45 minutes, the room tried to figure its way around ASUCD bylaws and campus policies to prevent the ballot measure from being removed by higher level administrators, and the conclusion was to send a revised draft of the bill to UC Office of the President (UCOP) to be reviewed. Later that night, Editor in Chief Elizabeth Orpina forwarded along The Aggie’s plan to follow the Educational Outreach section of the PPM — Bennett responded two days later informing the senate that the measure would be reviewed by UCOP in five days’ time (the middle of elections).

During the senate meeting on Feb. 13, the senators who were not present at the urgent meeting two days prior were brought up to date on the situation. But that didn’t stop the room from debating the unchangeable fee for an hour. The main concern for the table was whether to “take the blow” for the inefficiencies of ASUCD and UC Davis administration communication.

The California Aggie did nothing wrong in the creating, the writing or the promotion of the ballot measure, according to the ASUCD bylaws and constitution. However, due to the lack of transparency in the UC Davis administration and ASUCD because of high turnover in higher-level positions, Ballot Measure 1 is in the hands of UCOP.

At the time of publishing, Sandstrom reported that Corbett had met with Lang and that no one knew what UCOP’s decision was. The five day deadline was not met, and campaigners are left wondering if there’s a ballot measure or not.