Last week in Senate

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

Discussion over OASR unit director position leads to disagreement

On Jan. 18, at 6:12 p.m., Vice President Adilla Jamaludin called the ASUCD Senate meeting to order in the Mee Room of the Memorial Union.

The evening’s first presentation was given by the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs. Don Dudley and Jennifer Chow presented on the office’s status after rebranding two years ago from the former Office of Judicial Affairs. The office laid out its mission to help maintain conduct standards and provide due process when called upon.

The Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs intends to “coordinate between students and the resources they need for counseling.”

Sarah Risher and Lois Kim, the chair and vice chair of the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission, presented on The Green Initiative Fund. The fund sponsors students’ projects for sustainability.

The Spring Grant Cycles have raised enough money to fund student-run projects based in UC Davis or the Davis community ranging from $2,000 to $200,000. Applications to submit a sustainable project are due on April 9.

The Elections Committee then updated the table on the Winter Elections cycle. Petitions for prospective candidates went out on Monday, Jan. 22. Committee Chair Naeema Kaleem and  Vice Chair Rodney Tompkins presented the committee’s ideas to promote the election cycle. Raffles and increased tabling will be implemented to incentivise greater voter turnout. Voting, endorsements and petition signatures will all be digital.

ASUCD President Josh Dalavai presented third-year design major Amber Kumara as a prospective unit director for OASR to the table. Kumara was questioned before her confirmation on her history with advocacy and her goals as a representative for undergraduate students. She spoke about her passions for representing students. She was a returning student from time off from the university and did not have much advocacy experience. While she admitted to not being knowledgeable about every community on campus, she said her desire was to learn more.

A 10-minute break was called at 7:28 p.m. The meeting reconvened at 7:40 p.m.

Upon return, Dalavai rescinded his nomination of Kumara.

Becca Nelson, the Gender and Sexuality Commission chair, delivered an LGBTQ allyship training course to the table to accommodate senators who had not yet proactively done so.

SB 22 passed as amended during introduction of new legislation.

SB 23 redefines the office hours of ASUCD senators. They are currently required to reserve four hours for the public. The bill proposes that one hour may be substituted with a visit to a club or a classroom to make a public announcement on ASUCD’s behalf. The table spoke about whether making a short visit to a class or club should be equated to making oneself available for one hour to the public.

The meeting moved out of public discussion on SB 23 and into consideration of ASUCD Constitutional Amendment 1 regarding the position of the OASR unit director. The unit director is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The amendment would change the position of OASR unit director to an executive one, thereby creating a new elected position.

Senator Michael Gofman spoke about the intentions of the amendment, to make the role of primary student advocacy a democratic decision. The new seat is said to increase voter turnout in the upcoming elections.

Representatives from OASR and senators voiced their dissatisfaction with the amendment, commenting on Gofman’s lack of communication with OASR about the proposed changes and the amendment’s hastily-written contents.  

OASR members shook their heads in disagreement over the amendment’s defense and expressed their disapproval over not being consulted in the process. Senators rolled their eyes at other senators’ words and Gofman’s frustration at opposition led to his usage of profanity.

A motion was passed to divide the house for a litmus test vote over whether the Senate wanted to put the amendment on a ballot for students to vote on its approval. There was one yes, seven nos and three abstentions. The official vote ended in one yes, nine nos and three abstentions, keeping it off the ballot.

Public discussion moved back to SB 23. The bill will continue to be edited and discussed in the future to address recent complaints about the ineffectiveness of Senate office hours.

Ex officio reports were given followed by elected official reports.

The meeting adjourned at 10:26 p.m.  

 

Written by: Elizabeth Mercado — campus@theaggie.org