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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Announcement that The Pantry served over 5,000 unique students during February of 2020 at April 16 ASUCD Senate meeting

Senate re-does its pro-tempore election

The April 16 ASUCD Senate meeting was called to order by Vice President Akhila Kandaswamy at 6:12 p.m.

The meeting began with a quarterly report from Ryan Choi, the director of The Pantry, who discussed the ways The Pantry has adapted to social distancing and stay-at-home directives. The Pantry encouraged senators to volunteer to work on Wednesdays to help staff from The Pantry and Aggie Compass distribute groceries to students in need. Despite the closure of the MU, students continue to volunteer to help The Pantry provide for food-insecure students.

In his quarterly report, Choi highlighted how visits have increased exponentially since June of 2019. This past February, The Pantry served over 5,000 unique students. This number dropped by 50% in March 2020, likely in response to classes moving online and both local and state stay-at-home orders.

Choi encouraged senators to donate to The Pantry on UC Davis’ Give Day. Donations would be matched to help better support The Pantry’s continued efforts to address students’ food insecurity.

Next, Senator Juan Velasco, who was appointed as the Senate president pro tempore at the prior week’s Senate meeting, brought up the fact that the Senate did not have a majority when he was elected and, therefore, the election was unconstitutional. After a lengthy discussion regarding exactly what aspects of the Constitution were violated, the Senate moved to re-do pro-tempore elections. 

Senators Shreya Deshpande and Samantha Boudaie were nominated for the position. The table voted to postpone the pro-tempore election until later in the meeting.

Nicole Deacon, the Picnic Day chair, said she and her team made the decision to cancel Picnic Day before Chancellor Gary May released an official statement. Deacon was applauded by multiple senators for the way she handled the disappointing cancellation of the event after months of preparation. 

Though Picnic Day was cancelled, Deacon shared that her new priority was fundraising for next year’s Picnic Day through Give Day contributions.

After Deacon’s report, the Senate returned to the senate pro-tempore elections for the third time. Ultimately, Boudaie was elected to the position.

Greg Ortiz, the ASUCD business manager and acting director of Refrigerator Services, presented the unit’s quarterly report. This service provides students living on-campus with refrigerators. According to Ortiz, this is usually one of ASUCD’s most profitable units, but due to COVID-19, Ortiz anticipates the unit will incur around $25,000 in refunds, in addition to cleaning expenses.

Next, Alexa Kendell, a first-year philosophy and political science double major, was confirmed as Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) chair. Kendell currently serves as a member of IAC.

The Senate then moved into consideration of new legislation.

Senate Resolution #15, authored by Academic Affairs Commission Chair Naomi Reeley, aims to bring attention to the difficulties and constraints Muslim students face during Ramadan. Reeley said in the past, professors have lacked understanding about the unique challenges students observing Ramadan face. The resolution would encourage teachers to be flexible with these students in class and and in terms of attendance.

Senator Mahan Carduny argued that the wording of the resolution may encourage what he called, “Ramadan laziness,” when students neglect their academic responsibilities. After discussion and an amendment to clarify the language, the table moved into a roll call vote. Despite frequent opposition during discussion, Carduny voted in favor of the resolution and it passed without objections.

The Senate moved into discussion of Senate Bill #48 and SB #49. SB #48 would amend the language associated with the student advocate office in the bylaws. SB #49 would amend language associated with the cabinet of the student advocate in the bylaws. Both bills passed without objections. 

The Senate then discussed the recent editorial published by The California Aggie Editorial Board entitled “The Aggie demands selection of its new editor-in-chief be halted until adjustments are made.” Authored by the nine members of The Aggie’s Editorial Board as well as the four prospective candidates for the 2020–21 editor-in-chief (EIC) position, the editorial announced that all four candidates for EIC were refusing an interview with the Media Board, the campus advisory board that selects The Aggie’s EIC, until it was able to obtain quorum, as mandated by its bylaws. 

The editorial also demanded that the selection process be completely remodeled in the future to give Aggie staff members, not the staff and faculty members who composed the Media Board, autonomy in choosing their own EIC, as is the case at all other UC campuses and at most other colleges newspapers.

The Senate then moved into a closed session to discuss a personal issue.

Written by: Ally Russell — campus@theaggie.org

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the number of students served by The Pantry was 15,000. That is incorrect. That was the number of visits. The number of unique students served was actually 5,242. The article has since been updated to reflect that change. The Aggie regrets the error.

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