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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Last week in Senate


Concerns raised over candidate for OASR director position

On May 10, Vice President Shaniah Branson called the Senate meeting to order at 6:10 p.m. Both Senator Daniella Aloni and Controller Meital Machulsky were late.

The first order of business was the The Pantry’s quarterly report. The representative from The Pantry said that in addition to giving out points when students buy a beverage or food, it also has a $250 scholarship competition in the works. Students just have to fill out a form, write a personal statement and submit an application.

Up next were panel interviews for committee candidates for the following units: Specialized Transportation Services/Tipsy Taxi Unit Director, Environmental Policy and Planning Commission Interim Commission chair, Business and Finance Interim Commission chair and Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Interim Commission chair. After a thorough and lengthy questioning session for each candidate by the table, all four people were confirmed with no objections.

This was followed by consideration of old legislation.

Senate Bill #69 would allocate $660 for ECAC to put on the event “Tunnel of Resistance” on June 1 from 3 to 7 p.m. from Senate Reserves. Questions and comments from the table were expressed. Senator Atanas Spasov questioned what the commission had spent its “$1,000 dollar budget” on when “other commissions only get $100.”

Senator Jesse Kullar proposed that it “would be better to do a resolution and a spending bill separately, because this background information will be hidden in a spending bill.” Internal Affairs Commission chair Jacob Ganz replied that information in the background “will not technically be endorsed by the student body and will get buried with the spending bill.” Further discussion on spending details followed. Senator Kullar motioned to Senate discussion, seconded with no objections.

In discussion were suggestions to seek donations from local hardware establishments, but dissent was expressed on the availability of donors. Different funding approaches were broached. Finally, the bill went to vote with amendments to the bill’s language. SB #69 was confirmed as amended.

Next up was the EPPC’s quarterly report. Notable topics from the report included sustainability audits, conversations with unit directors, purchasing, water usage and a waste initiative. The commission expressed hope to bring back the report every year instead of every other year for concern of losing institutional knowledge. Other topics discussed were Environmental Week, Conscience College Road Tour, Green the Greens, a campaign to reduce pesticide use on the MU Quad, the Fair Trade Campaign with Dining Services and Toilet Talks — a poster in bathroom stalls about environmental topics.

The following item was a detailed confirmation hearing for nominee Edgar Malagon for Office of Advocacy and Student Representation unit director. President Michael Gofman nominated Malagon. Before proceedings began, Gofman gave an overview of the nomination process and acknowledged Bylaw 504(D), which states that the confirmation of an incoming director must be within four academic weeks of the seating of the new ASUCD president and said the Senate is running late on the confirmation.

Gofman credited Malagon’s past experience. During discussion over the confirmation, ECAC chair Rina Singh read a statement from Destiny Padilla, the current director of OASR, that said:

“Not saying something will be a disservice. [The] interview process has been sneaky; [Malagon’s] application came in late. There’s a conflict of interest with IAC. Encourage everyone to ask hard questions. I do not endorse [Malagon]. Senators should not be complacent. Some questions: How will next director stand against UCOP? Is the director really devoted to serve students or is he just the president’s friend? Look around to who is advocating for candidate; and do you see a pattern? I do not recommend [Malagon].”

After reading the statement, Singh asked about Malagon’s thoughts on the statement, to which he responded by saying “one shouldn’t pass judgement without actually knowing them and without basing it on one’s character. It’s a bit unprofessional and disgusting.”

Htoo asked about Malagon’s connections with the city of Davis, to which Malagon replied that he feeds “the homeless in Davis and Sacramento.”

Senators Atanas Spasov and Alisha Hacker asked Malagon about his plans for the city of Davis and OASR. He discussed plans to “meet with the city council, hold forums” and  “meet with residents […] to target city policies” as well as other “state assembly members or sign a letter to UC Regents.”

Testimony from the public came next. The final vote to confirm Malagon was conducted and he was confirmed with 11 yes votes and one no vote from Htoo.

There was a break from 9:25 p.m. to 9:39 p.m.

Public Discussion commenced after the break. A discussion over what changes can be made to legislation took place. External Affairs Commission chair Amanda Bernal said there is a “misconception on table that when you send Shaniah legislation, you can change it. The one you send her is the end all be all.”

Halawi, however, said “we should be able to make changes along the way, or else Senate meeting will just be longer.” Branson replied, “You can’t make changes along the way because there is a system in play.”

During consideration of old legislation, Senate Bill #67, an ASUCD Senate Bill to streamline the process of rehiring positions, was discussed. Hacker, who authored the bill, said, the bill would make a change to “make it easier to rehire people.” The bill passed unanimously.

Next up was Senate Bill #68, which would make changes to the interview process. Hacker, the bill’s author, said, she wanted to table the bill “because there are some changes we made in IAC not reflected here.”

SB #68 entered into public discussion. Senator Spasov said, “Unit director should be on interviewing committee to learn and continue along with the unit, but when the outgoing senator leaves, they no longer matter.” In related over the resignation of Senator Halawi, Senator Gaven Kaur asked “Why is it that the outgoing senator doesn’t need to be there but the outgoing director does?” Senator Hacker responded that “the outgoing unit director needs to be there because they need to know what’s going on.

Debate continued until a motion to divide the house was approved; the language in #SB 68 was amended to allow the option for the outgoing senator to be on the Interim Senator Interviewing Committee. The vote count was five yes votes, four no votes and three abstaining votes.

Discussion followed on Senate Bill #70, which would reallocate $1,858 to cover backpay for entertainment and additional parking costs related to Whole Earth Festival.

“Whole Earth Festival is usually right before budget hearings,” said the bill’s author, Senator Jake Sedgley. “They need to base off the new budget on their old budget. By that time, the WEF budget is two years old.”

Machulsky added that “it should be within their rights to move their own funds around.” The bill passed.

Hacker discussed Senate Resolution #13, which supports ballot measure J and the Nishi project.

“It would’ve been nice if it was sent to EPPC, because housing is related to environmental issues,” said EPPC Commission chair Lois Kim. “This is a very large controversy in environmental justice.”

Senator Hacker said that “a lot of people who were against it before were using environmental concerns as a smokescreen for their antigrowth ideals.” Amendments were subsequently made and SR #13 passed as amended.

New legislation was considered next, including Senate Resolution #17, which expressed frustration over the misallocation of funds related to the hiring of counselors, and Senate Resolution #18, which supports housing.

During public discussion, Sedgley discussed his frustration with only four senators showing up to the recent budget summit.

“You were elected to represent people on campus,” Sedgley said. “People have not been going to meetings, having adopted units, or haven’t written bills. This is week one stuff; we’re in week six. I am seeing people not talk, not taking bills seriously, and not taking the Bylaws seriously.”

Ex-officio reports were then delivered followed by elected officer reports.



Written by: George Liao — campus@theaggie.org


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