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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ASUCD Senate passes bill to improve elections processes in wake of Fall Quarter elections

Quarterly reports, confirmation of commissioners, commission chair among action items 

The ASUCD Senate convened its Nov. 21 meeting at 6:17 p.m. in the MU East Wing Lounge. Scheduled to take place from 6:10 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., the meeting continued until approximately 11:30 p.m.

Following the roll call, the members present at the Senate meeting delivered ex-officio reports, emphasizing their progress and accomplishments for that week along with action items to complete for upcoming weeks. Vice Controller Shambhavi Gupta and External Vice President Adam Hatefi were absent and Controller Kevin Rotenkolber was late. Senator Lylah Schmedel was absent and Senator Victoria Choi was late. 

In his ex-officio report, President Justin Hurst mentioned dealing with legislation concerning the recent ASUCD elections, receiving updates on UCPath, attending an event in which students could offer input on hiring provosts, conducting interviews for extending the chair position for various committees to students and discussing issues regarding Sunset Fest and legislation affecting the Entertainment Council’s large show reserves. 

From an alternative perspective, Vice President Shreya Deshpande communicated their interest in hosting a sustainable career fair, a project spearheaded by the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC) in their ex-officio report. 

“I went to EPPC to talk about starting a sustainable career fair,” Deshpande said. “I [am] also talking to engineering folks that are pursuing the same projects. They are talking about how engineering career fairs are largely centered around oil and defense companies that come and contract engineering students. There are folks that want to be more in line with our UC Davis Sustainability Goals and want to divest from that and talk about alternatives.”

Additionally, in their ex-officio report, Desphande said that further updates need to be received on UCPath, and its ramifications. 

“I had a UCPath meeting with administrators regarding potential issues [for] people who are signed up on the UCPath system,” Deshpande said. “Like late fees, potentially the fact that students aren’t getting their checks delivered on campus, but have to go off campus and then conversations about compensation.”

Elena DeNecochea, chair of the Gender and Sexuality Commission (GASC), talked about the recent Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“[Nov. 20] was Transgender Day of Rememberance,” DeNecochea said. “I will say going onto social media, in my opinion, there wasn’t enough posts on this subject and there isn’t enough attention to it. We have to counter that, help and be allies. It’s very close to my heart, and I am really happy that you all stand in solidarity with us today.” 

Following ex-officio reports, the meeting was marked by a series of quarterly reports. Creative Media, the EPPC, the Committee on Committees, the Campus Center for the Environment, Entertainment Council and the Ethnic Cultural Affairs Commission all delivered presentations in front of the ASUCD Senate. 

Creative Media, a “full-service digital creative agency,” summarized its projects for this quarter, according to its presentation. Specifically, it highlighted its extensive involvement in the marketing of Sunset Fest, the rebranding of ASUCD, the promotion of elections and Aggie Studio’s photography and videography projects. 

EPPC reaffirmed its overarching goals, including “represent[ing] the student body’s interest in issues of sustainability,” according to its presentation.

Based on commissioner interest and project selection metrics, EPPC solidified six projects: the operation of an internal affairs team and an external affairs team, the creation of a comprehensive environmental survey, establishment of waterwise and green infrastructure across campus, analysis of how products procured by the UC system are produced and the creation of a sustainability career fair.

Aside from these core projects, EPPC plans on fostering collaboration with People for the Elimination of Animal Cruelty through Education, or P.E.A.C.E., to promote the regard for animal rights and increase the accessibility of vegan options in Student Housing and Dining Services; maintaining its partnership with Climate Reality Club; and supporting commissioners delving into topics like UC climate policies and disposal of laboratory waste.

The Committee on Committees recently hired seven academic senate student representatives, who are “extremely qualified and dedicated students, have been accountable and responsible, and […] have ideas about working with faculty on international education issues,” according to its presentation. 

Yasmeen Qursha, chair of the Committee on Committees, discussed an overall theme that representatives are encouraged to focus on: “emphasizing diversity and the new culture of ASUCD” and “how diversity relates to the Principles of Committee.” 

Qursha also presented the Campus Center for the Environment’s quarterly report. She detailed the impact of three projects: Project Compost directed by Karl Zahlhass Liebner, Project Challenge led by Lauren Jozefov, and Project Garden overseen by Sabrina Denton and Aiyun Liao. 

The Entertainment Council, “responsible for booking and hosting concerts, open mic nights, movie screenings and other events on campus for the student body,” according to their website, mainly debriefed Sunset Fest in their quarterly report. 

Last, Ethnic Cultural Affairs Commission (ECAC) which “[aims to] represent historically marginalized groups who face barriers in terms of institutionalized, internalized, and systemic oppression,” outlined its accomplishments, according to its presentation.

For instance, ECAC has spread awareness about its work and its mission at the involvement fair. Additionally, the commission presented to Davis College of Democrats and addressed cultural appropriation at the Whole Earth Festival. 

The confirmation of commissioners was also a prominent part of this senate meeting. EPPC, GASC and Academic Affairs all had commissioners confirmed to their commissions.

Similarly, the Disability Rights Advocacy Committee confirmed a chair. 

“This is a committee that has not been running for a long time,” Deshpande said. “It is very exciting to have somebody take on the initiative. It’s very important to establish community building and having a voice like Nasaki’s that will reach out to a variety of students to be able to build this community and advertise the resources we have for disabled, differently-abled folks on campus is extremely important.” 

The Senate meeting rounded out with consideration of old legislation. By the end of the meeting the following constitutional amendments had been passed: Constitutional Amendments #63, #64, #65 and #66.

CA #63 is “a constitutional amendment to shift the Winter ASUCD Elections to Spring Quarter.” Specifically, this amendment was written to “prevent the necessity for the ASUCD to hold a special election every Winter Quarter and prevent a violation of Article II, Section 1, of the ASUCD Constitution that mandates one (1)  year terms for every elected official,” according to the amendment itself. 

CA #64 is “a constitutional amendment to reform the structure of the Judicial Branch of the ASUCD.” 

CA #65 is “a constitutional amendment to create the Student Workers Rights Commission”, or SWRC. Specifically, the SWRC would “act as a representative body for, investigate concerns, and advocate for the welfare of undergraduate student workers employed by the Association and UC Davis workers as a whole.” 

“I think it would be really vital to have another chairperson on the table to advocate specifically for student worker rights,” Deshpande said. “Just having that extra voice on the table would provide a lot of context, getting their reports on what they’re constantly doing, and the level of campus engagement they’re having with our student workers functionally gives them a lot more agency.” 

CA #66 is “a constitutional amendment to add the process of impeachment and removal of elected officials to the ASUCD Constitution.”

Concerning elections, SB #16 was also passed. SB #16 is “an ASUCD Senate Bill to introduce crucial regulations with respect to ASUCD elections.” This bill was passed in response to the Fall Quarter 2019 elections. Specifically, “candidates abused loopholes […] there were […] a number of logistical failings […] and [there was a] lack of an Elections Committee Chair.” 

Senate Bill #8, Senate Resolution #1, SB #12, SB #14 and SB #15 were tabled. 

Written by: Aarya Gupta — campus@theaggie.org 


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