ASUCD senators voted to support South Asian students and promote campus diversity
The Feb. 11 ASUCD Senate meeting was called to order at 6:10 p.m. by Internal Vice President Emily Barneond.
Senator Tenzin Youedon was absent and Commission Chair Yalda Saii showed up late.
The meeting moved into a presentation by Jeff Flynn, the general manager of Unitrans, who delivered a quarterly report.
“We are still running what we’re calling an expanded summer schedule,” Flynn said. “This is what we used to run during summertime pre-COVID[-19]. We now have 30 minutes service [on lines D, G, J, K, M, P, Q, V and W] in order to ensure that there’s no more than 15 people on the buses.”
The buses carry approximately 1,100 passengers per weekday, according to Flynn.
Additionally, Unitrans is instituting changes to achieve a smaller carbon footprint.
“We are currently rehabbing about a quarter of our fleets to replace their older, dirtier engines with the newest and low-emission technology for engines: near-zero emission engines,” Flynn said. “For those 13 buses that we are rehabbing, this [replacement] will extend their life another six years.”
Unitrans is also looking for more drivers.
“We are about 100 drivers short for Fall ‘21,” Flynn said. “If we’re to go back to full fall operations, we need 175 drivers in a typical regular year, so we have a huge shortage.”
Julia Sullivan Pano, the Student Sustainability Career Fair (SSCF) commission chair, presented a quarterly report.
“We started with our Green chats last fall, and that was when we interviewed environmental professionals,” Pano said. “We asked them a series of questions that we thought would be helpful for students when applying for jobs in environmental sustainability.”
During Fall Quarter, the Student Sustainability Career Fair also created a spreadsheet of job opportunities in the field and has been keeping up to date with over 200 job postings.
Creative Media then presented their quarterly report by Project Manager Suzanna Sim, Assistant Project Manager Morayah Horovitz and Aggie Studios Executive Producer Jillian Nguyen.
“[We] will be offering numerous services for any and all ASUCD organizations for free, including integrated marketing strategy and social media campaigns,” Horovitz said.
Creative Media has been adjusting to COVID-19 by focusing on digital programs.
“We’re revamping a lot of websites, starting with the ASUCD website,” Horovitz said. “With everything going virtual, we wanted to update the website to display accurate and relevant information from using new photographs and including helpful information about UC Davis COVID[-19] guidelines.”
The presenters elaborated on their efforts to update the ASUCD website and to create social media posts for various organizations.
“We had a goal of hitting $10,000 by the end of the year, but I’m very happy to report that currently we have surpassed that, and we currently have $13,665 in earnings,” Nguyen said.
Barneond then directed the meeting to public announcements.
“The UC-wide Academic Senate is making a task force on the UC entry level writing requirement,” said External Affairs Vice President Maria Martinez. “CSA is going to be nominating four students, preferably from underrepresented backgrounds and those who are taking writing-intensive courses.”
Martinez elaborated that the deadline to apply for the task force is March 31.
UC Davis Pantry Director Ryan Choi then presented The Pantry’s quarterly report.
The Pantry is currently spending $7,400 on expenses and receiving $9,100 in income, according to Choi. The Pantry’s new online ordering system enables volunteers and workers to track the quantity of food distributed to students.
Choi then discussed the UC Davis swipe system that allows The Pantry to see demographic trends.
“If a student swiped at this time and then placed this order, who would it most likely be in terms of the demographic information here?” Choi said. ”What trends do we see across a certain timeline?”
Choi explained that this knowledge will cut additional costs and inform future decisions. “From this swipe data, we’re able to look at their GPA, their time of admission, whether
they entered as a freshman or as a transfer student,” Choi said. “We’re [also] able to tell which major they belong to, which major or graduate school program they belong to, their ethnicity, their race, their citizenship status.”
Senators expressed concerns over this new information in regards to the privacy of students, especially international students.
“[Whenever a student swipes their card], it’s scrubbed cleaned,” Choi said. “There’s no way to track it back to that student. We only see the big picture, which is, ‘Out of the 709 students that utilized the pantry last quarter, ‘x’ percentage of them came from these demographics.’”
Senator Kristen Mifsud echoed several other senators by stating that the average student likely does not know this and making that disclosure is necessary.
The table then reintroduced Senate Bill #53, which was authored by Senator Kabir Sahni.
“[The bill] draws in more international student-related resources on campus and assigns them as ex officios of the committee [while] also increasing the committee membership by one,” Sahni said.
The bill passed unanimously.
The table then introduced Senate Bill #55, authored by Student Government Administrative Office Manager McKenna Weitzel.
“This bill is another effort to kind of better organize the committee section of the bylaws,” Weitzel said. “[It] also [adds] some guidelines for when a committee should be dissolved and how it should be created to provide more incentive hopefully for committees, not just be sitting bacon.”
Several senate members agreed that dead committees are a huge problem. However, they decided to remove the passage addressing them in Senate Bill #55.
“There’s certainly issues that need to be solved here and that we need to put more thought toward,” ASUCD President Kyle Krueger said. “I don’t think that the way that this is framed is going to be the most productive solution.”
The amended version of Senate Bill #55 passed unanimously.
The table moved on to Senate Resolution #8, authored by Radhika Marwaha, a fourth-year global disease biology major.
“Davis is similar to many other American universities,” Marwaha said. “There is a gap in supporting the Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi students, which refers to a caste of people within the broader South Asian student group.”
Marwaha praised UC Davis’ efforts to promote diversity and explained that this resolution strives to further that goal.
“There is a lack of institutionalization in that support,” Marwaha said. “It’s not present in our Principles of Community; there’s no distinct protected category around the issue of caste. As part of this resolution, my only goal is to institutionalize that support and make it possible for students to talk about this historically marginalized identity that they have.”
Senate Resolution #8 passed unanimously.
Barneond adjourned the meeting at 10:10 p.m.
Written by: Maddie Duley — firstname.lastname@example.org