Last Week in Senate

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

Interim senator confirmation interrupted by member of public

On Thursday, Oct. 19, the ASUCD Senate gathered at the Memorial Union for its weekly meeting.

Director of Athletics Kevin Blue gave a presentation to the Senate about Intercollegiate Athletics, which has partnered with ASUCD in several capacities. Blue said UC Davis Athletics upholds the university’s Principles of Community — for example, training on sexual assault and violence is now mandated and speakers have given presentations on implicit bias.

Vice President Adilla Jamaludin asked Blue about his plans for decreasing Athletics’ reliance on student fees; Blue said he does not have a specific plan.

Next, third-year political science major Kevin Butt was presented as a candidate for an open interim senator position. President Josh Dalavai, who conducted interviews for the position, said Butt was a “phenomenal candidate.” Butt previously held the positions of senator and student body president at his community college. In response to questions from senators, Butt said he wants to make changes to the ASUCD bylaws and work with the Bike Barn.

A motion was made to approve Butt as an interim senator, but a member of the public interrupted the vote. The member of the public, later revealed to be Jesse Foster, a former colleague of Butt’s on the ASUCD Student Senate for Community College and a current fourth-year biological systems engineering major, stepped out of the office with Senator Jose Meneses to discuss his concerns with the approval of Butt.

Senator Meneses returned to the meeting with additional questions, specifically regarding Butt’s decision in the past to write in the candidate “Rosa Hitler Trump” as a political statement on an election ballot. The senators unanimously voted to hear direct testimony from Foster.

According to Foster, Butt wrote in “Rosa Hitler Trump” in July because he was displeased with the candidates for the executive board of the Student Senate for Community College. Foster said Butt deleted posts from colleagues in a Facebook group and “tried to hide the information over and over again.” Foster maintained he had proof with him to back up his claims.

At this point, the Senate decided to re-evaluate the situation later in the meeting.

In the meantime, Jeff Flynn, the new director of Unitrans, announced that Unitrans will be launching a new website this month. In addition, Unitrans will be celebrating its 50th birthday. When asked whether Unitrans will provide increased accessibility for people with disabilities, Flynn replied that drivers are trained to accommodate those with disabilities.

After Flynn’s presentation, a motion was made and seconded to move into Internal Affairs Commision confirmations. Each candidate discussed why they applied for the commission and answered questions posed by the table.

In light of the upcoming Senate elections, the meeting then moved into elections updates. Naeema Kaleem, the elections committee chair, announced that applications for election committee vacancies were accepted until Oct. 23. To promote the election, the library and Student Community Center have been supportive in changing all the IT computers’ backgrounds and homepages to say “elections,” and the library has agreed to host tabling events. Entertainment Council will take part in election promotions, and Kaleem also contacted Canvas to display an elections banner.

After the elections update, the Senate resumed discussion of Butt and the interim senator position. Butt expressed that if he could go back he would not have done what he had done, but he insisted that he stood by his principle that nobody should be forced to vote. Several senators expressed their discontent over Butt’s emphasis on the defense of his actions instead of immediately apologizing.

After some questioning, a motion was made to vote on whether the committee should re-evaluate the nomination for the interim senator candidate. The motion to re-evaluate was confirmed.

Next, the meeting moved to confirm Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission candidates. The candidates discussed their ideas and backgrounds and answered questions posed by the table. Both candidates were confirmed.

Next, there was a presentation from The Green Initiative Fund. TGIF is a “student-led fee referendum” that passed in the winter of 2016. $200,000 is now available for grants to support undergraduate students to construct and conduct projects and research regarding sustainability. A representative from TGIF said that the fund is in the process of conducting outreach to promote the grants and opportunities available.

The unit director for Housing Advising for Undergraduate Students was confirmed. The meeting took a 10 minute break and resumed at 9:19 p.m.

Dalavai then nominated Becca Nelson, the gender and sexuality commission chair, and Julienne Correa, the ethnic and cultural affairs commission chair, to be on the Volunteer Award Committee. Nelson accepted the nomination.

New legislation was then discussed — legislation included a resolution taking a stance against the rehiring of former Chancellor Linda Katehi as a faculty member and a bill to dissolve the Undergraduate International Committee.

Dalavai gave a public announcement and said the third floor of the MU is set to be renovated, with construction starting as soon as the summer of 2018. KDVS is also set to be moved to a new, permanent location.

After ex-officio reports were given, the meeting adjourned at 10:18 p.m.

 

Written by: Clara Zhao and Hannah Holzer — campus@theaggie.org

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