Photo Credits: AGGIE FILE
The ASUCD senators voted to support Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable products on campus and in the Davis community
The April 8 ASUCD senate meeting was called to order at 6:10 p.m. by Internal Vice President Emily Barneond.
Controller Alexis Lopez-Perez was late.
Sarah Theubet, the chair of the Disability Rights Advisory Committee (DRAC), presented the respective nominations for DRAC. The nominees included Stephanie Loera, Sydney Wren, Kris Matas, Katrina Zara and Julia Shurman. Each nominee introduced themselves and their qualifications for the role.
In light of World Autism Month, Senator Kristin Mifsud asked if the committee had any potential projects in mind pertaining to autism awareness.
“I think that it’s really important to educate people about [autism],” Zara said. “We want to create a newsletter—that’s in the works. It will promote awareness and education for the public.”
The nominees were unanimously confirmed as DRAC members.
Tariq Azim, the chairman of the Transfer, Reentry and Veterans Committee (TRVC), then introduced the TRVC committee member nominees and provided their respective qualifications. Nominee Juliana Olivera was present at the meeting and the other two nominees were absent. All nominees were confirmed as committee members.
President Kyle Krueger then introduced the Fall Planning Task Force. The task force includes campus stakeholders, faculty and students who are planning the academic and operational aspects of the 2021 Fall Quarter. The task force members at the senate meeting included Ari Kelman, the interim dean of the College of Letters and Science; Cynthia Ching, the interim provost and dean for undergraduate education at UC Davis; Jason Stewart, the assistant director of institutional analysis; and Pablo Reguerín, the vice chancellor of student affairs.
Krueger then facilitated a conversation between senators and the task force members present to address concerns regarding what Fall Quarter will look like for students.
“Right now, it seems like not only our campus, but all of the UC campuses are pointing toward being back in person in the fall,” Kelman said. “There will still need to be a certain number of courses that are going to be taught remotely.”
When asked whether COVID-19 vaccination will be a requirement for students, Reguerín responded that it is very likely that there will be a vaccine mandate for students.
Reguerín added that unvaccinated students are likely going to be tested weekly. However, vaccinated students may not have the same requirement depending on the effectiveness of other testing methods, such as wastewater analysis.
Senator Annoushqa Bobde asked what accommodations are in place for international students who may not be able to travel to the U.S. for Fall Quarter.
“We need to see if what we need to create is a series of smaller individualized solutions or if there can be some large solutions that would apply to a larger group,” Ching said.
Bobde replied that the best ways to support international students include exam windows of 24 hours, flexible office hours and alternative ways to receive participation points outside of live lectures and sections.
Ching shared that the Academic Senate will be meeting with faculty to determine which professors are willing to teach asynchronously and in-person classes simultaneously.
She also shared that the Academic Senate is forming a separate subcommittee on international student issues and instruction to better serve those students.
Senator Ryan Manriquez raised concerns over proctored exams contributing to stress and discrimination for students with disabilities.
“One of the questions that was asked to me [while taking a proctored exam] was, ‘Can you lift up your laptop and show us your work area?’” Manriquez said. “That question is inherently ableist because someone with a physical disability, like myself, is not able to do those simple tasks that someone who is able-bodied would do super quickly.”
Ching responded that every quarter, the Academic Senate sends out a strong recommendation to faculty to avoid using electronic proctoring during exams and shares recommendations for other types of assessments.
Kelman said that in the fall, first-tier physical exercise activities will be offered such as swimming lessons and self-defense, at no additional cost to the student.
Barneond then introduced SB #72, a bill to adjust the ASUCD reserves structure to better reflect the needs and services referendum. The bill was assigned to the Internal Affairs Commission, the Academic Affairs Commission and the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC) to be reviewed.
The table then moved to SB #69, and Senator Maahum Shahab shared her authors’ comments.
“This amendment proposes a housing commission [that will] be ASUCD’s representative and lead strategist when it comes to all housing and student housing advocacy efforts,” Shahab said.
Currently, several branches of ASUCD are addressing housing efforts, which are focused in very niche, specialized areas. This bill will centralize those efforts and better mobilize student voices, according to Shahab.
Senator Lauren Smith voiced concern that the commission might not be active enough as the housing committee vacancy was posted several times with no interest. Smith advocated for utilizing the resources that already exist.
Allie O’Brien, the co-founder of Aggie House, shared some statistics on the student population the housing commission would be supporting.
“Annually, over 2,000 students experience homelessness,” O’Brien said. “[Additionally], 3% of our student population at some point will be in a car, living in shelters, couchsurfing in living spaces that are not meant to be homes, and 7% experience homelessness. Almost one-fifth of students experience housing insecurity.”
The commission would be advocating for the construction of more student housing to help offset the steep cost of housing in Davis, which has tripled in the past decade, according to O’Brien.
Mifsud echoed the thoughts of several senators by stating that she could not support the bill as it stood and voiced evaluating and expanding the advocacy already in place.
The bill was voted on, and due to a tie, SB #69 was tabled.
Senate Bill #70 was then brought to the table and was introduced by author Sydney Cliff, an EPPC member.
“As a fair trade university, UC Davis will demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and continue to educate the campus community about Fair Trade,” Cliff said. “[They hope to] inspire other institutions and organizations to support Fair Trade and enhance [UC Davis’] image as a leader in sustainability and social justice issues, while working with student housing and dining services.”
The bill will establish a long-term plan to increase the use of Fair Trade products and support Davis vendors that are environmentally responsible, according to Cliff.
SB #70 passed unanimously.
Barneond adjourned the meeting at 10:46 p.m.
Written by: Maddie Duley — firstname.lastname@example.org