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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Last Week in Senate

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

Two interim senators sworn in on Oct. 12

The ASUCD weekly Senate meeting was held in the Mee room of the Memorial Union on Oct. 12. With nine senators present, a quorum was established.

Two interim senators were confirmed — Michael Swalberg, a fifth-year political science major, and Manasa Gogineni, a first-year international relations major. Senators then asked the new interim senators questions. When asked about concrete plans for campus improvement, Swalberg said Chapter Four of the elections committee should be streamlined and bylaws should be made more clear. Gogineni said she plans to increase safe drinking information for first-years.

The interim senators then discussed how they plan to increase student outreach. When asked about actions they’re taking as part of their new positions, the interim senators said they have been reviewing bylaws.

ASUCD senators had no objections to the interim senators or their answers, and the two were confirmed after taking the official oath.

The platform was then opened to a member of the public.

Paul Medved, an alumnus and the father of a former student affected by water sports budget cuts, cited that former chancellor Linda Katehi removed four UC Davis sports teams that had no state funding to begin with. Since then, the budget for athletics has increased and Medved called for a re-institution of historically inexpensive water sports teams. Medved also urged for an independent audit on all student fees since 2010, claiming that $3 million had been illegally mishandled by Katehi from 2010 to 2012.

Medved, who has presented to the Senate four times in the past, questioned the integrity of this decision, claiming it was purposeful in order to allocate money for higher-earning UC Davis sports teams like men’s basketball and men’s football.

“It was a typical Katehi move, if I do say so myself,” Medved said. “Because of the high-profile nature of those sports, it was a great chance to increase the profile of the university, perfectly consistent with everything else she did as chancellor. I maintain that in no uncertain terms that’s fraud.”

Greg Ortiz, the promotions director for UC Davis Athletics, publicly spoke up and told the senators to always fact-check information they are presented with.

Next, the elections chair confirmation was held. Out of five applicants, Senator Julie Jung said Naeema Kaleem, the elections committee chair, was the strongest candidate due to her vast experience in student government. Senator Michael Gofman asked about her plans to increase voter turnout and, in response, Kaleem said she would focus on streamlining communication, stating that a media marketing committee could help.

After the confirmation, senators took part in a moment of silence for the victims of the California wildfires and other natural disasters that have affected other states.

Committee assignments were then given. Gofman was assigned to the Housing Task Force, Gogineni was assigned to the Food Security Task Force and Senator Rahi Suryawanshi was assigned to the Sexual Assault Awareness and Advocacy Committee.

The bylaws, which mandate attendance at the Fall Summit, were called into question due to low turnout. The summit, a meeting of ASUCD unit members and directors, commissioner and committee chairs and members as well as senators and other staffers, took place on Oct. 28. According to the agenda posted on the event’s Facebook page, the summit discussed matters related to hiring and payroll, presented an elections update from Kaleem and facilitated a session on writing bills, among other sessions and presentations.

Controller Jin Zhang argued that the bylaws were needed, saying “it’s a copout answer to drop a summit because of low attendance.” Other senators agreed that attending the summit was important as a brainstorming session to create new legislation.

No new legislation was introduced, leaving room for consideration of old legislation. Senate Bill #3 was first reconsidered, regarding the dissolvement of the Department of Outreach and Recruitment and transferring its duties to Creative Media — this unanimously passed.

Senate Bill #2, to establish an ASUCD controller, was unanimously passed. This bill also allows the ASUCD president to designate another individual to attend the meetings in their place.

Senate Bill # 4 to move the secretary of outreach’s salary into Creative Media was passed unanimously.

 

Written by: Aaron Liss — campus@theaggie.org

 

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