Michael Chan, a fourth-year computer science major, was sworn in as an interim ASUCD senator on Feb. 9 to replace Senator Sam Park, who resigned on Jan. 19.
During his time as interim senator for ASUCD, Chan had perfect attendance during Senate meetings. In his one-month tenure, he never adopted any units, nor did he sponsor any bills for ASUCD.
“Michael was often an enigma to other people on the table, and it took him a while to adjust to ASUCD,” said Senator Samantha Chiang via email. “Yet once he did, he offered keen insight and showed us a different perspective that many of us entrenched in the association would have failed to see otherwise.”
Former Senator Shaitaj Dhaliwal shared the same sentiments on Chan’s insightfulness during Senate meetings.
“Chan was a senator for a one quarter term,” Dhaliwal said. “During that time, he took his role very seriously and always added wonderful insight and comment during Senate meetings.”
Alex Lee, former ASUCD president, highly praised Chan and wishes he could extend his term.
“Chan helped write a few bills with me, was always critical-minded and voiced his opinions despite them perhaps not being popular with the Senate,” Lee said. “He was brave not to follow like sheep, which most senators easily and happily do. He knew the value of his vote and did not give it easily. I only wish his term were longer than an interim basis, as I believe he would make an effective senator. Unlike most interim seats, he demonstrated a great capability to be effective inside ASUCD and perhaps then go on to bigger campus projects.”
Chan emphasized that he never had a specific platform he worked for during his time as interim senator.
“I joined Senate less so on any specific platform and more with the intent to add a more representative and equitable voice and thought process to the table,” Chan said. “Discussions went from being relatively one-sided when my term began to having a bit more thoughtfulness for groups of different backgrounds by the time my term ended.”
At the start of Chan’s term, he mentioned that he would like to provide students of all backgrounds access to quality and affordable education. Chan believes access to affordable education begins with access to affordable housing in Davis.
“We’ve seen widespread housing issues for our students, which has only been getting worse over recent years,” Chan said via email. “Because the root of these problems lies, in part, due to a disconnect between the City of Davis and the UC Davis students, one of the things we’ve been working on is re-establishing the roles and responsibilities of a joint UC Davis-City of Davis work force that aims to coordinate common efforts and discuss issues and concerns.”
Although Chan will be ending his tenure with ASUCD, he will continue his efforts outside of the Senate.
“As ASUCD continues to bolster these efforts, I’ll continue separate efforts off of the Senate table, specifically with an initiative that seeks to encourage students to register to vote within Davis and Yolo County, and participate regularly in local elections,” Chan said via email.
Chan wished that he could have reached out more to the computer science department and students during his term.
“This department has been facing issues, both large and small, at least over the past year, if not longer,” Chan said via email. “These issues range from facilities management and cleaning issues to a liberal use of baseless academic dishonesty referrals to Student Judicial Affairs.”
Chan’s advice for incoming senators is to keep up with the fast-paced quarter system and to have an open mind.
“I wish the newly elected Senators the best of luck over the course of the next year,” Chan said via email. “UC Davis quarters go by fast, so once you have your agenda, start working towards it as soon as possible. Always keep your ears open for new voices and perspectives, not only from those on the Senate, but also those in the student body. With thousands of students in various groups across campus, working towards representing each of them is a daunting task, but keep trying and don’t let impossibilities get in your way.”
Written by: Yvonne Leong — firstname.lastname@example.org