Several pieces of emergency legislation passed at March 11 ASUCD senate meeting

Several pieces of emergency legislation passed at March 11 ASUCD senate meeting

Photo Credits: AGGIE FILE

The ASUCD senators voted to support The Pantry in hiring three new managers to meet heightened student demand

The March 11 ASUCD Senate meeting was called to order at 6:10 p.m. by Internal Vice President Emily Barneond. 

Senator Lucas Fong was absent, Ex-Officio External Affairs Vice President Maria Martinez was absent, External Affairs Commission Chair Natalia Waid was absent and Gender and Sexuality Commission Chair Jane Casto was absent. Senators Annoushqa Bobde and Laura Elizalde were late.

Jason Lorgan, the executive director of student affairs, presented on the Equitable Access program. For a quarterly fee of $199, students using Equitable Access can access all their course textbooks for the quarter. 

Alexander Jackson, a third-year chemistry major, asked Lorgan about the pushback Equitable Access is receiving and for clarification regarding how students save money using the program.

“We did a student survey, we stood outside the Memorial Union (MU) during Winter Quarter of 2020 before the pandemic hit,” Lorgan said. “[The survey revealed that] 78% of UC Davis students said that they were skipping at least one required textbook due to cost, after the program launched […] that number went down to 27%.”

It is unclear how generalizable the results of the surveys were, since the participants—students passing through the MU at the time of the survey—may not be representative of the entire UC Davis student population.

Senator Kristin Mifsud then asked if Equitable Access would consider structuring the program to be course-load specific to each student’s department in order to more equitably address the cost of certain subject matter, rather than a blanket fee.

“We’re constantly evolving and we’re certainly willing to do that evolution as well,” Lorgan said. “One of the things that we were trying to do was model our program after how the rest of the campus works [because] there aren’t different [tuition] amounts per major when you choose a major.”

Valerie Tu, the unit director for The Aggie Reuse Store, presented the unit’s quarterly report. The Aggie Reuse Store is striving to improve outreach to ensure the Davis community knows about the store, according to Tu.

“Marketing has been working a lot with virtual outreach,” Tu said. “They’ve been collaborating with Davis community groups, such as The Davis Vanguard, a news organization. They’ve written a collaborative piece with us.”

The store’s Instagram has seen an over 400% increase in impressions and profile visits since Dec. 8, and over 2,000 post interactions, according to Tu.

Although the store’s register is closed due to COVID-19, the Reuse Store is focusing on improving inventory, creating a standardized price sheet, furthering social media outreach and preparing for a relocation.

“We’re moving to the EcoHub,” Tu said. “This [move] increases our store by five times the square footage. It’s amazing, but that means that we’re going to need a lot more money to operate and we’re going to need a lot more donations and supplies to prepare for this.”

The store used this past school year to prepare for this move by having a $0 budget.

“This will be a great way to cover the cost of supplies such as clothing racks, tables, a new cash register and possibly even a credit card machine,” Tu said.

Then, two new co-chairs, Aaron Wright and Wanshu Zhang, were unanimously confirmed to the STEM Committee.

Tariq Azim was also unanimously confirmed as the Transfer, Reentry and Veterans Committee (TRVC)  chairperson.

The senate proposed three emergency bills to be seen by the table as emergency legislation. Due to senate bylaws, only two pieces of emergency legislation are allowed per senate meeting, according to Barneond. 

Each bill was then introduced by its author, beginning with SB #64, authored by Senator Michael Navarro. 

“[The Senate table] is attempting to have financial vouchers for the undocumented community who have suffered financial burdens and other burdens throughout this pandemic,” Navarro said. “I’ve been working consistently this quarter with the AB540 Center along with The Undocumented Students Center and the Dream Committee to get some kind of structure in place.”

Senate Bill #64 was unanimously confirmed as emergency legislation.

The bill will directly allocate vouchers to the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center, Navarro said.

Controller Alexis Lopez-Perez then voiced concern regarding the Senate reserves and the urgency of passing SB #66, which would also use a large portion of the senate reserves to create additional stipend positions for The Pantry and was nominated to be seen by the table as emergency legislation.

Navarro agreed to table SB #64 until the next senate meeting due to the importance of passing SB #66.

Ryan Choi, The Pantry’s director and author of SB #66 then introduced the bill.

“Our team is currently at its manager capacity and is unable to meet the increased demand of the number of volunteers needed to serve our students,” Choi said.

Choi said the purpose of the bill is to allocate funds for three stipend positions. 

“We already have vacancy apps and job descriptions for [these positions],” Choi said. 

Senate Bill #66 passed unanimously.

Senate Bill #63, a bill on the dissolution of ASUCD committees, was then introduced, and the Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) offered their formal recommendation.

“The IAC voted unanimously to pass it,” said Juliana Martinez Hernandez, sitting in on behalf of IAC Chair Julian Garcia.

Lopez-Perez then provided his author’s comments on the bill.

“This is the second attempt at restructuring committees,” Lopez-Perez said. “We went back to the minutes and looked at some of the concerns with the initial bill ,and I think we’ve addressed them here.”

Mifsud then provided additional clarification regarding the bill.

“It’s to make sure that we’re having committees that can be strong and can really invest in the work they’re meant to be doing instead of just having committees, doing nothing or just standing there for performance reasons,” Mifsud said. 

With no objections, SB #63 passed unanimously.

Senate Bill #58, a bill related to the consolidation of ASUCD units, was then introduced.

“IAC passed SB #58 unanimously,” Martinez Hernandez said. “We think it’s an important bill for increasing the efficiency in the unit operations.”

Senate Bill #58 passed unanimously.

The table then moved on to SB #59, which edits a chapter of the ASUCD bylaws about budgeting.

The Business and Finance Commission recommendation by Commision Chair Alec Pitts passed the bill unanimously and recommended its passing in the Senate.

“This bill is doing two things,” Lopez-Perez said. “One of them is defining what the outcome of a budget hearing really is, and the second is having more transparency and accountability when it comes to budget amendments.”

Senate Bill #59 passed unanimously.

The table then brought up SB #60. 

“IAC passed SB #60 unanimously,” Martinez Hernandez said. “It clears up any ambiguity that could arise in the hiring process of the executive staffers and unit directors.”

The bill strives to clarify the president’s duties regarding hiring, as well as executive office staff and when they are hired, according to author Lopez-Perez.

With no objections, SB #60 passed unanimously.

Senate Bill #61 was then brought to the table.

“On Monday, IAC saw SB #61 and we passed unanimously,” Martinez Hernandez said.

Senator Lauren Smith, author of the bill, then further clarified the bill, with her author’s comments.

“This bill follows up the other bill that Senator Sahni and I wrote about special committees,” Smith said. “We wanted to look at executive task forces, how they’ve overlapped in the past with permanent standing committees, and how we can reduce those and redefine what an executive task force does.”

Senate Bill #61 was passed unanimously.

Vice President Barneond adjourned the meeting at 10:54 p.m.

Written by: Maddie Duley — campus@theaggie.org 

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