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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Call for increased support for ASUCD Refrigerator Services voiced at Feb. 13 Senate meeting

Crystal Juarez sworn in as interim senator

ASUCD Vice President Shreya Deshpande called the Feb. 13 ASUCD Senate meeting to order at 7:08 p.m. The meeting began with presentations from Student Health and Wellness and the Club Finance Council. 

During elected officer reports, each senator focused on spreading the word about the upcoming elections, which took place from Feb. 18-21, before the publication of this article. Senator Shondreya Landrum emphasized her efforts to inform Panhellenic organizations and Senator Mahan Carduny suggested reaching out to Camp Kesem, efforts that were intended to reach a large swath of students. 

Senator Khalil Malik reported his upcoming efforts to increase support for ASUCD Refrigerator Services. Currently, first-year students can rent miniature refrigerators and microwaves for $60. Malik noted that the revenue generated by ASUCD Refrigerator Services provides funding for a variety of student services, yet it does not receive appropriate resources nor support. 

Fourth-year student Crystal Juarez was sworn in as an interim senator. Following her confirmation, she sat on the board for the remainder of the meeting and will contribute to ASUCD decisions for the upcoming month. 

Senate Bill #25, which redefines the External Affairs Commission, was passed by the board. SB #27, which was authored by ASUCD President Justin Hurst, was also passed. SB #37 allows for a more flexible interviewing process in ASUCD hirings. The previous ASUCD Constitution required rigidly specific interviewing requirements, and Hurst’s SB #37 would amend the constitution to require fewer members to be present, which has previously been problematic due to conflicting schedules. In response to the bill, Controller Kevin Rotenkolber emphasized the importance of releasing ASUCD vacancies before the quarter begins in order to avoid interviewing fiascos. 

The highlight of the night, however, was the consideration of SB #31, the Basic Needs and Services Referendum. The Senate passed the bill, allowing for the referendum to be placed on the Winter Quarter ASUCD Elections ballot. Senator Juan Velasco requested a roll call vote. Nine senators voted in favor and three abstained. The abstentions came from two absent senators and the abstention of Senator JB Martinez. The passage of SB #31 prompted applause throughout the Senate floor.

Finally, the board extensively debated Constitutional Amendment #67. Hurst intended the amendment to be a “backup plan” in case the fee referendum did not meet the 20% minimum participation threshold for its results to be considered valid. Hurst explained that it would allow for the future ASUCD Senate to create two budgets, including a 10-year plan for ASUCD budget reconstruction and a complete dismantling of ASUCD. However, CA #67 generated disagreement among senators over the 10-year plan wording. Kyle Krueger, chair of the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission, suggested changing the wording to “long-term plans” instead. Senators Andre Spioglio and Camille Randolph, Rotenkolber and Deshpande agreed that CA #67 is inappropriate considering that the fate of Basic Needs and Referendum was still unknown at the time. Rotenkolber emphasized that the idea of presenting anything contrary to the referendum on the ballot is concerning. 

ASUCD External Affairs Vice President Adam Hatefi responded in defense of the 10-year plan. Hatefi insisted that the 10-year plan is a solid preventative measure, and that ASUCD “should not give anyone from administration any ground to affect ASUCD.” In an initial roll call vote, CA #67 failed to pass. The table decided to amend the wording, and CA #67 passed. 

Since this meeting took place, both the Basic Needs and Services Referendum and CA #67 were approved and passed by voters.

The meeting was called into a closed-session at 11:17 p.m. 

Written by: Hannah Blome — campus@theaggie.org

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