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Davis, California

Monday, September 20, 2021

A senate table divided

JENNIFER WU/ AGGIE
JENNIFER WU/ AGGIE

Student government: not the place for petty infighting.

ASUCD made history last week, however, the association may go down in history for other reasons.

At the senate meeting on Oct. 8, the senate pro-tempore was removed and replaced mid-quarter for the first time in recent years. This happened when Senator Casey Nguyen nabbed the position from former pro-tempore Alex Lee after an argument ensued over Lee’s decisions when helping to replace the seat of former senator Sarah Priano.

In a nutshell, Lee was removed and replaced by a vote from a majority of his colleagues. This vote took place after Senator Sevan Nahabedian accused Lee of abusing his power as pro-tempore. Nahabedian argued that by not choosing Senator Reem Fatayerji to sit on the interview panel to help choose the seat, despite Fatayerji saying that she was available for all interviews, Lee overstepped his role.

Without taking a side on this issue, the Editorial Board believes that last week’s senate meeting was neither the time nor place for that discussion to happen.

The debacle between Lee, Nahabedian and Fatayerji was clearly an isolated issue that should have been discussed privately. But for many members of the table, last week’s meeting was the first time that they heard the story behind the conflict. It is unfair to expect that the nine-or-so senators who were not directly involved in the situation to develop an opinion, let alone vote on the issue, in the approximate hour-and-a-half spent in public discussion.

This meeting, nearly half of which was spent tackling the conflict, was an inappropriate occasion to discuss the issue. Senate meetings are meant to hear out public voices from the community and discuss policy in order to find ways to better the campus. Rather than wasting not only the senators’ time, but also the public’s time, on an isolated incident involving only a select few, the meeting should’ve been spent discussing the issues that hundreds of students actually elected these public officials to handle.

With last week’s incident and senators dropping in and out of ASUCD, the power switch seems like an issue beyond just a seat on an interview committee. ASUCD can switch seats around and re-elect as many public officials as it would like, but none of those things will fix a divided association in desperate need of repair. Communication is key for a group to run smoothly, and when accusations of power abuse are only brought forth to everyone’s attention at a public meeting, it is not indicative of a well-communicated organization.

If we can’t expect our elected public officials to get along, how can we hope for campus unity? “One UC Davis” is a movement that’s been promoted by the school for several years. It’s about time ASUCD took the hint.

Update: 10/15/16 11:38 a.m.: Headline was changed from “An association divided” to “A senate table divided.”

 

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