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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Legislation passed to help with ASUCD structure, campus layoffs, proctored exams at ASUCD March 4 meeting

Commission chairs and senators discussed the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, among other things.

Vice President Emily Barneond called the meeting to order at 6:10 p.m. 

Barneond introduced and assigned four new bills, including SB #58 to outline procedures for consolidation of ASUCD units, SB #59 to edit Chapter 23 of ASUCD bylaws, SB #60 for hiring practices for ASUCD unit directors and executive office staff and SB #61 to legitimize executive task forces and redefine their purpose. 

Old legislation included SB #56 to differentiate between special committees and executive task forces, SB #57 on commission schedule cancellation and rescheduling notifications and SB #62 to clarify the role of the student government administrative office in maintaining the format of ASUCD bylaws. Additionally, SR #9 to oppose campus and systemwide labor layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic and SR #11 to limit proctored exams on campus were considered. 

Commission Chair Yalda Saii of the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs committee (ECAC) commented on SR #9, stating that the ECAC is “agreeing with the authors that layoffs during a pandemic that has exacerbated financial strain particularly on marginalized communities is inherently immoral and it’s not something that benefits anyone during a pandemic.” 

Senator Maahum Shahab who introduced SR #11 spoke about how proctored exams harm different communities and are “intrusive, discriminatory and ableist.” Along with research, she hopes this bill will get professors to acknowledge the research and speak on it to limit proctored exams.  

All five passed unanimously. 

Of those bills was SR #10, which urges the university to update ASUCD when guidelines and policies change. It was introduced by the Gender and Sexuality Commission Chair Jane Casto. 

“One of the problems that we’ve come across frequently in our work is the fact that the policies we have set in place do not actually follow through the bylaws,” Casto said. “One of the common instances we saw happening within the bylaws [is] we would be referred to Section X, Y and Z of the UC Davis proposal manual for example, and when we went to go look for that manual, that section no longer exists. When they’re talking about something as serious and severe as our policies for sexual misconduct that is incredibly vital that we have that information readily accessible.”

While President Kyle Krueger mentioned respecting the authors’ intentions, he also said that this, “was not the right way to go about it.” 

“I think the administration is going to read some of [the whereas clauses] like this and think, ‘It sounds like ASUCD is telling us they can’t handle their own policies,’” Krueger said. “I think as a 501(c)(3), it is our job to handle our own affairs.”

Senator Kabir Sahni and Environmental Policy and Planning commission (EPP) Chair Hunter Ottman commented on the resolution’s language used, with Sahni saying it was “volatile” and Ottman saying that the table needs to be cautious of how it writes resolutions to not come off as “callous.” 

SR #10 was tabled. 

Controller Alexis Lopez-Perez recommended Vice Controller nominee Isabelle Poux and was granted the position with no objections.

For quarterly reports, the Housing Advising Undergraduates’ projects included assessing student needs and connecting them with guidance and resources through Housing Week. For next spring, they are planning on working toward centralizing housing resources and holding educational events. 

The EPP presented their quarterly report and announced the projects they have been working on including: the Fair Trade project, which has a goal of enacting a UC-wide policy that encourages campuses to earn and maintain a Fair Trade University certification, which provides food and catering services for UC students. E-Talks, a virtual form of Toilet Talks, which shared informational posters on bathrooms on campus, provides educational graphics on sustainable living and environmental justice and a sustainability Webinar series. 

They have also been providing support for the Office of the External Vice President’s bill amendment which, according to Otterman, will allow for a more timely review process for student housing projects.

“There are significant hurdles with getting student housing projects approved,” Ottman said. “A huge portion of it has to do with misreporting or using the [California Environmental Policy Act (CEQA)] process. So, this bill will provide student housing projects not to have an exemption from CEQA but a more fair review process, one that has a timeline in site.” 

ECAC reported on their work including committee reviving and SB #53 on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Restructuring; SR #8 on caste discrimination, anti-Asian discrimination signage and resources and Black History Month resources; and an ethnic studies expansion project. 

Internal Affairs Commission Chair Julian Garcia reported on the commission’s bylaw references clean-up project as well as their search for a new chair due to him graduating. 

Senator Ryan Manriquez reported on hiring Evan Rodricks for Chief of Staff and co-authoring SR #11. 

Senator Kristin Mifsud reported on attending and conducting interviews for Student Government Administrative office manager and meeting with the Disability Task Force to discuss disabled students’ needs on campus. 

Senator Tenzin Youedon reported on fundraising planning and holding space with Sigma Omicron Pi, the Asian-American sorority due to the rise of hate crimes nationwide. 

Krueger worked on the Police Research Task Force, discussed the issue of P.E. with the Vice Chancellor and posted more unit director vacancies, interim senator vacancy. Krueger also reported on a vacant senator spot next quarter. 

External Affairs Vice President Maria Martinez reported on lobbying Congressman Garamendi about COVID-19 relief and the Double The Pell panel and movement.

DREAM Committee Chair Alejandro Cervantes reported on the committee’s food voucher program, scholarships and finding a permanent place for the lending library. 

During public comment, Nico Gist, the campus organizer for CALPIRG, announced CALPIRG’s lobby day with 150 student leaders who met with 70 legislators to advocate for bills to fight climate change and clean electricity. 

Martinez announced an upcoming lobby day for transfer students on April 27-28. 

The ASUCD meeting was adjourned at 10:01 p.m.

Written by: Annette Campos — campus@theaggie.org 

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