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Saturday, November 27, 2021

ASUCD state of emergency ends with 10-1 vote by senators

Senators discuss work environment concerns and confirm new committee chairs

By CHRISTINE LEE — campus@theaggie.org

ASUCD Internal Vice President Juliana Martinez Hernandez called the senate meeting to order on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 6:10 p.m. 

Following roll call and the land acknowledgment, the Student Government Administrative Office (SGAO) Office Manager Sloane Ramras gave a presentation on the payroll procedures for ASUCD members. Additionally, Ramras provided information on how to reserve rooms through the ASUCD Room Reservation Agreement Form and how to create and navigate the ASUCD vacancy site for hiring positions. 

Dr. Cory Vu, a UC Davis alumnus and the associate vice chancellor for Health, Wellness and Divisional Resources, presented statistics and projects to improve mental health for students. Initiatives include hiring 11 mental health providers and three psychiatrists, limiting high-risk spaces, implementing peer-to-peer programming and establishing a task force entitled Health 34. The task force aims to provide Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and nurse services to urgent calls related to mental health with the goal of sending non-uniformed personnel to assess the situation. 

“As a student, there are a lot of things in addition to academics and other things you all go through [that creates stress],” Vu said. “It’s important for us to be able to help students succeed and focus on some of the areas that we need to address.” 

Keven Zhou was confirmed as the interim international student representative, a new position aiming to represent international students within ASUCD, by Martinez Hernandez’s recommendation.

Dhanya Indraganti was confirmed as the library committee chairperson by Senate President Pro Tempore Kabir Sahni.

Marcos Lopez was confirmed as the Aggie Housing Advocacy Committee chair by Martinez Hernandez’s recommendation. 

Chairperson Jared Lopez brought to attention that Oct. 11 was Indigenous People’s Day, reading an excerpt from the article “Land-Grab Universities Expropriated, Indigenous Land is the Foundation of the Land Grant-University System” by Robert Lee and Tristan Ahtone. 

“I am expecting us as a commission and you all at the table to do everything in your power to work with Indigenous communities on and off campuses to make sure the demands that they ever make of the university, or from us, [are] met with full support,” Lopez said. 

Senator Owen Krauss shared concerns from overhearing ASUCD business manager Greg Ortiz raise his voice at Martinez Hernandez during a meeting. 

“What I heard was not the vice president having a meeting with the business manager, but rather the business manager berating her,” Krauss said. 

Krauss said he took notes of what he heard being said to Martinez Hernandez such as, “I can see in your body language you’re getting defensive” and “Everyone thinks [she’s] passive-aggressive.”

“This is nothing but disgusting intimidation and mansplaining by an unelected grown man whose responsibility is to support the members of the student association and student body,” Krauss said. “It’s our endeavors, not theirs. And their job is not to be degrading and disrespectful to the young elected representatives of the student body. I’m extremely disappointed in this behavior and I call for a formal apology directly to the internal vice president. And I encourage this table to look into fair and proper measures to ensure that a situation like this never happens again.”

Senator Sergio Bocardo-Aguilar confirmed the account, and other members at the table who were bystanders apologized for their inaction. Senator Kristin Mifsud also said that she has had similarly hostile encounters with Ortiz in the past. 

Following an apology for staying silent in the meeting, president Ryan Manriquez recognized the work that needs to be done to make ASUCD a better work environment. 

“I want to apologize, and I want to work together with everyone here to address that behavior,” Manriquez said.

As of Oct. 18, there have not been any updates to this, according to Manriquez. Ortiz was not available for immediate comment on Oct. 18.

Concerns about transparency within the association were brought up by Chairperson Radhika Gawde, and Martinez Hernandez stated that Manriquez was involved in a conversation regarding the state of emergency without the senate president pro tempore present. Sahni expressed frustration that a bylaw was violated.

ASUCD’s state of emergency ended with one negative vote and one absence. 

    Senate Resolution #2 passed unanimously.

    Senate Resolution #3 passed unanimously.

    Senate Bill #4 passes with a 9-3-0 vote.

    Senate Bill #12 passed unanimously.

    Constitutional Amendment #72 passed unanimously.

Martinez Hernandez adjourned the meeting at 10:48 p.m.

Written by: Christine Lee — campus@theaggie.org

This story is developing and will continue to be updated.

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