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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Legislation changing number of signatures needed to declare candidacy in light of pandemic passes, discussion of SR #25 at Oct. 15 meeting

Confirmation of commissioners and unit directors among items completed

The weekly virtual ASUCD Senate meeting on Oct. 15 was called to order at 6:10 p.m. by Vice President Emily Barneond. 

After ex-officio and elected officer reports were delivered, Samantha Veres, a fourth-year cognitive science major, and Aparna Manoj, a third-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior  major, were confirmed as commissioners for the Mental Health Initiative. 

“I was really drawn to [the Mental Health Initiative] because I wanted to learn how to be a better ally for my friends when it came to mental health,” Veres said. “I found that as I’ve been in this organization, I’ve been able to not only help my friends, but actually learn how to better help myself and now our community.” 

Like Veres, Manoj joined the Mental Health Initiative as a first year on campus. 

“Initially, I was drawn to [the Mental Health Initiative] because of experiences I had working with other mental health organizations back in high school,” Manoj said. “But, over the years, with the Mental Health Initiative, I have learned a lot of skills [including] how to talk about various intersections with mental health as well as how to connect people to different resources.” 

Following Mental Health Initiative confirmations, Tianna Ching, a fourth-year cognitive science and English double major, and Samantha Wah, a fourth-year design major, were confirmed as unit directors for the Whole Earth Festival. 

“I have been a part of the Whole Earth Festival for the entirety of my college career, so it’s something that I really enjoy and look forward to at the end of the year,” Ching said. “Even though it’s going to look a little different this year, I’m still really excited to help bring people […] something a little happier.” 

Building off of Ching’s statement, Wah said that she was excited to be more involved with the Whole Earth Festival to work on her leadership and organizational skills. 

“Even though it’s really disappointing not being able to see the festival in its true, big form because of the pandemic, I’m excited to see how we can brainstorm different ways to implement it virtually,” Wah said. 

Six students were confirmed as commissioners for the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission (ECAC): Kabir Singh, Mariann Lactaoen, Jimena Calderon, Dalya Issa, Devin Santiago-Vergara, Fauziya Faruk and Kunga Yangzom.    

“I’m thrilled to be part of a commission that acknowledges [the intersections of gender norms and queerness with minority mental health] through the lens of ethnic and cultural groups, especially in our current social and political climate,” Lactaoen said. “I’m really excited to see what the ECAC can do this year with the rest of the ASUCD.” 

Calderon echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing her passion for the work that she does through the ECAC.  

“I’ve always been an advocate for my community and other communities on campus,” Calderon said. “I thought that I would take on a new role to better support marginalized communities on campus. I am really excited to work with the rest of the commissioners to best support and foster a safe space for underrepresented communities.” 

Finally, the External Affairs Commission Confirmations (EAC) confirmed three commissioners: Steven Le, a third-year psychology and philosophy double major; Simran Chahal, a second-year political science major; and Tyler Chan, a third-year economics and psychology double major. 

“A reason why I joined EAC is because I love the [UC] Davis community, and I want to give back and make sure that all students are treated fairly,” Chan said. 

Followed by the confirmation of commissioners and unit directors, public discussion ensued, dominated by a dialogue about ASUCD Senate Resolution #25. 

ASUCD Senate Resolution #25 was presented to urge the UC Regents to divest “from corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinain territories,” according to the Senate Resolution itself. It passed at the June 4, 2020 meeting and was vetoed the next day by President Kyle Krueger.

“It’s important to remember that nothing we do here at ASUCD carries any weight in the international body, world,” former ASUCD President Michael Gofman said. “ASUCD is not about injecting ourselves into an international conflict at a time where so many other countries are finally accepting the right of the Jewish people to exist in their homeland. It is silly, ridiculous, insulting and anti-Semetic that we here at ASUCD have decided to revisit the topic deciding whether or not this body has the right to tell the Jewish people whether or not they have the right to live in their historic home.” 

Senator Samantha Boudaie said that the Jewish community was not consulted “before, during, or after the veto,” as far as she knows. 

Nina Al-Mesih, a UC Davis student, said that “passing [ASUCD Senate Resolution #25] is essential to make the entire population of Palestinian students here at UC Davis feel as if they actually attend a school that recognizes their community.” 

The ASUCD Senate meeting then transitioned to reviewing the status of previous legislation, introduction of new legislation and consideration of old legislation.

Kreuger introduced ASUCD Senate Bill #4, which is “an ASUCD Senate Bill to further delineate how members of an interviewing committee are chosen,” according to the Senate Bill.

ASUCD Senate Bill #2, proposed by Senator Youdeon, and Senate Bill #3, proposed by Senator Velasco, were tabled. 

ASUCD Senate Bill #5, authored by Senator Karolina Rodriguez and introduced by Senator Boudaie, was passed. Senate Bill #5 will “temporarily change the amount of signatures needed for declaring candidacy […] to 75 for the Fall Quarter 2020 elections,” according to the bill itself.  

“Because of the pandemic, I do not think [getting 125 signatures] is possible,” Rodriguez said. “I’m more thinking of transfer students and first years that are barely getting into this institution and actually know nobody. I’m really concerned about students who want to get involved, especially transfer students, they only technically have a year to run. Having 125 signatures is really a boundary that won’t allow them to get involved.”  

Finally, the veto to overturn the presidential veto for the ASUCD Senate Bill #25 did not pass in a 6-3-3 vote. Barneond adjourned the meeting at 11:08 p.m. 

Written by: Aarya Gupta — campus@theaggie.org 

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