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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Last week in Senate


No decision on severing ties with Tapingo without paying large cancellation fee

The weekly ASUCD Senate meeting was held in the Mee Room of the MU on Feb. 8 and was called to order by Vice President Adilla Jamaludin at 6:12 p.m.

The table was in full attendance. Academic Affairs Commission Chair Abigail Edwards and Internal Affairs Commission Chair Jacob Ganz arrived late.

Samantha Chiang, a fourth-year English major and the director of the Mental Health Initiative, presented on the initiative’s prospects and the outcomes of the group’s Mental Health Conference with fourth-year English major Katrina Manrique and fourth-year global disease biology major Jacqueline Grady, both program coordinators.

The conference was reported as a success. Sold-out tickets have encouraged the coordinators to remove a cap of attendants for next year’s conference. The initiative hopes to continue its work with high schools to build mental health awareness. The coordinators also intend to coordinate projects for Mental Health Awareness month in May.

Senators Danny Halawi and Gaven Kaur were nominated and appointed as the adopted senators of the Mental Health Initiative.

Former Business and Finance Commission Chair David Heifitz, a fourth-year managerial economics and psychology double major, was considered by the table to, once again, fill the empty BNF chair position. In the position, Heifitz plans to recruit new members to the commission, as most of the members presently in place are seniors who will graduate in the coming months. Heifitz was appointed as BNF chair.

New legislation was introduced regarding the “expansion and improvement” of the ASUCD Judicial Council, which was only created last year. The bill would grant the Judicial Council the power to subpoena. Deliberation over the powers of Judicial Council was held between the Senate table and representatives from Judicial Council present. Ultimately, the bill passed as amended.

 Six bills were introduced as new legislation. Among the six was a bill to allocate $550 for maintenance and repair for Campus Center for the Environment and another to rent out classrooms for ASUCD training.

ASUCD President Josh Dalavai and Controller Jin Zhang reported that they chose Scott Stevenson from Student Affairs Divisional Resources as a full-time staff member involved in marketing. Stevenson was set to begin his work the week of Feb. 13 and will serve to drive ASUCD marketing.

The Senate reported on the status of ending ties with the food-ordering app Tapingo after controversial affiliations with private prison company Aramark was brought to light. The fee to cancel ASUCD’s contract with Tapingo was projected to cost between $100,000 and $500,000. Originally, the Senate believed that giving a two-month advance notice of cancellation to Tapingo would mean no cancellation fee.

There is currently no decision on how to move forward — paying the severance fee would be a blow to ASUCD funds which would come from the CoHo’s profit. The Senate reported that its best-case scenario would be to keep the contract with Tapingo but not use its service or promote it. ASUCD cannot condemn the use of Tapingo and, in theory, non-ASUCD affiliated groups on campus are not obligated to use Tapingo services.

Halawi had the idea of giving the profits made from Tapingo to charity. Gender and Sexuality Commission Chair Becca Nelson responded to the idea.

“I think that’s an excellent point that it’s benefiting a prison industry and is particularly aimed at black/brown communities it should be going back to those communities,” Nelson said.

Zhang then brought up an idea about implementing fees for transactions at the CoHo using credit cards in place of a student-wide fee hike.

“I really like the idea but I think this is a way to go behind students’ backs and have hidden costs,” said Senator Andreas Godderis. “Students won’t be expecting it and I’d rather be transparent about it like the hike. [By] raising the costs by 10 cents, faculty also pay the increase.”

Dalavai said there would “be an awareness campaign to let people know” of the credit card fee. There was a call for senators to speak with their constituencies and communities about the proposed credit card fee.

Julienne Correa, the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission Chair, then reported on the status of KDVS’ handling of the public’s negative response to an interview with white supremacist Richard Spencer. Giving Spencer a platform to share his views was considered to be a recruiting opportunity. KDVS will be delivering a statement of apology and furthermore requiring the approval of the entire staff for an invitation to any guest.

Correa also reported that the #BeyondtheBudget Mrak protest would be put on hold until organizers speak with administration.

Senator Rahi Suryawanshi then delivered a fake presentation about the intent and impact of words and actions that was actually a collectively-coordinated surprise celebration for Jamaludin’s birthday. For a few minutes, the table shared birthday messages to Jamaludin using a PowerPoint presentation, gave her cake and celebrated.

Ex-officio reports were then given, followed by elected official reports.

The meeting adjourned at 8:46 p.m.


Written by: Elizabeth Mercado — campus@theaggie.org


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