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Friday, March 1, 2024

This week in senate

Vice President Bradley Bottoms presided over the weekly senate meeting on Feb. 20. The meeting was called to order at 6:14 p.m. Senator Ryan Wonders was absent.

The senate confirmed the new Gender and Sexuality Commission Chair, Robert Helfend.

The meeting moved into public discussion. Senate directed multiple questions to Eric Renslo, chair of the Elections Committee. Renslo spoke of issues that occurred in the first few hours of elections with voters accidentally abstaining on the Measure One vote.

Associate Vice Chancellor Milton Lang presented on the campus climate talks and the rollout of a new system for reporting hate or bias incidents and crimes, which are criminal acts resulting in physical or verbal injury. He spoke of a marketing campaign to make the protocol more widely recognized.

Lang emphasized that making UC Davis a safer place is “a working project.”

He expressed the need for the student body to keep providing input and said that he will hold “dialogues on a consistent basis.”

Lang said that over the next few quarters, there will be action to train and educate staff and faculty on how to deal with hate or bias incidents.

Afterward, Lang and ASUCD Business Manager Janice Corbett presented on future training for ASUCD leaders, such as senators and unit directors.

“We want to help them be the professionals they want to become,” Lang said.

Corbett said that students will be trained in human resource practices and professional interpersonal skills.

Senator Pamela Nonga expressed a desire to train students not studying economics in financial literacy to make them better understand budgets and finances.

After a 10 minute break, the meeting moved to unit director reports. Senator Jonathan Mitchell did not return.

AggieTV Director Anna Oh reported that the AggieTV staff is working to establish live streaming capabilities to live stream events, such as senate meetings.

Oh said that she established a creative department and it will start making more short films. She also gave an update on the status of the new cameras AggieTV purchased last year, as well as a revenue update. With new cameras, AggieTV can start to increase prices for its services to clients to match the higher quality of its work.

The meeting then moved into committee reports, in which senators reported the status of various committees and their projects.

After committee reports, the meeting moved into consideration of old legislation.

Senate reviewed various pieces of legislation: Senate Resolution (SR) 14, which condemns “harmful group-targeted responses to the 2014-15 UC calendar changes and future calendar changes,” passed unanimously (with the abstention of senators Wonders and Mitchell, who were absent). The resolution demands more transparency from the UC Regents regarding system-wide changes and calls on the University to communicate with students more and to clarify the UC Policy for Addressing Religious Holiday Conflicts with Residence Hall “Move-In” Days.

Senator Gareth Smythe introduced SR X and motioned to make it “urgent” because it had not gone through the proper legislative process. SR X calls on UC Davis and its student body to implement a drought action plan in addition to an ad campaign to encourage students to take action. It passed with nine votes in favor and three abstentions.

Senate Bill (SB) 44 passed unanimously. This bill makes the International Undergraduate Student Committee a permanent committee within the ASUCD Senate.

SB 40 was then considered and passed unanimously. SB 40 changes the ASUCD Bylaws so that a senator’s compensation is not affected by his or her attendance to senate meetings. Prior to this, the Bylaws implied that senators could miss senate meetings without consequence.

SB 46, which would have required the ASUCD president to provide reasoning for each bill he or she signs, failed with four votes in favor, five against and three abstentions.

SB 47, the center of much debate in the meeting, neither failed nor passed. Senator Miles Thomas authored SB 47, and it would have called for greater transparency within the ASUCD Senate by holding a special town-hall type senate meeting once a quarter. It will be rewritten and reintroduced to senate in the future.

At the meeting’s end, Thomas called for a censure of Senator Ryan Wonders, who was absent. A censure “states the ASUCD Senate’s disapproval of the general behavior of an individual,” and a censured official or senator is “encouraged to resign from their [sic] position.” No one seconded the motion. Thomas said he will go through the proper process to file his censure.

After debating, Senator Mariah Watson asked if a censure of every current ASUCD senator would be possible, to which Internal Affairs Commission Chair Spencer McManus answered yes.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:25 a.m.

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