Senator Brandon Clemons’ absences topic of concern
The Feb. 7 ASUCD Senate Meeting was called to order by Vice President Shaniah Branson at 6:10 p.m. Senators Simran Kaur, Atanas Spasov and Brandon Clemons were absent.
The meeting began with quarterly reports from Entertainment Council and the Office of the External Vice President Affairs’ (OEAVP). A highlight of the OEAVP’s report included the addition of $5,000 in funding for a Davis Community Cooperative (DCC) program related to combating hunger.
Additionally, the DCC has aided in the development of a Senate bill entering California legislature.
The bill, which should be introduced by Feb. 22, will help small family farms make the transition from traditional irrigation methods to drip and other modern irrigation methods which increase efficiency and reduce costs.
“We have a lot of farms big and small [in Yolo County] and people who work on agricultural policy,” said Adam Hatefi, a fourth-year political science major. “Crops that would be affected [by the subsidy] would be the six most water-heavy crops, one of which is used for grazing.”
Kyriakos Psaras, a fourth-year political science major with a pre-law focus, was sworn in as chair of the Transfer, Re-Entry and Veterans Committee.
“As a transfer student myself, I didn’t really feel ASUCD had much of an impact on transfer students,” Psaras said. “I never felt I should get involved until later when I thought I should give back to the school. Transfer students are usually older and already know what they like so they don’t really fit in with freshmen and sophomores. Being involved with this allows me to help them interact with one another.”
Tayesha Watts and Jonathan Chen were sworn into the Academic Affairs Commission. Both Watts and Chen indicated that they hope to boost outreach to underrepresented and marginalized groups at UC Davis.
“I applied because I saw it as a way to be a voice for marginalized communities on campus and help them better pursue academics,” Watts said. “A lot of emotional support is needed to help black students in STEM. A lot is put on them including mental and emotional toll.”
Chen focused on the need for sensitivity training for faculty and staff.
“I believe everyone has implicit biases and faculty should be trained to go against those biases,” Chen said. “I feel like there are a lot of things aside from academics that people have to deal with. We should do something to be able to account for those.”
Three students were sworn in as Gender and Sexuality Commission commissioners. Some issues that the new members plan to focus on is increasing access to gender-neutral bathrooms on campus and making classroom experiences more accessible for those with disabilities. The new commission members are prioritizing intersectionality and allyship in their new ASUCD positions.
The Senate approved numerous items of old legislation. All that passed were approved without objection.
Senate Bill #36 allocated $1540.44 for battery replacement and installation on vehicles used to transport compost materials for the Campus Center for the Environment (CCE).
Senate Bill #37 changed the interviewing structure for members of ASUCD Senate committees.
Senate Bill #39 brought the bylaws in line with recent changes to the constitution.
Senate Bill #40 reimbursed Entertainment Council for rented sound equipment.
Senate Bill #41 allocated funds for sound equipment for the upcoming ASUCD Town Hall.
Senate Bill #42 removed the Food Security Task Force Committee from the bylaws, citing concerns about its efficacy since its topics are being addressed in other areas of the Senate.
Senate Bill #43 removed the Judicial Council Oversight Committee in accordance with recent changes in the constitution.
Senate Bill #44 removed mentions of the mentorship program for ASUCD Senators, which some say has been ineffective.
Senate Bill #49 removed mentions of the Student Services and Fees Administrative Advisory Committee from the bylaws.
Senate Bill #50 allocated funds for refreshments at the upcoming ASUCD Town Hall.
Senate Bill #52 created the Davis Housing Discrimination Committee within ASUCD.
Senate Bill #45, which recommended the removal of slates from the bylaws, did not pass due to concerns that it would decrease already low voter turnout among members of the student body. The bill failed with four senators voting in favor, five against and three abstaining because of their absences.
Senate Bill #46, which would allow for unlimited deferments during confirmation hearings, was tabled.
Under new legislation, Senate Bill #53, which would establish the Public Opinion Task Force Committee, was introduced into the ASUCD Senate.
Senator and ex-officio reports were given. During public discussion, Branson expressed concerns about Senator Clemons’ repeated unexcused absences and tardiness to ASUCD meetings.
The meeting adjourned at 11:33 p.m.
Written by: Rebecca Bihn-Wallace — firstname.lastname@example.org