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Friday, April 19, 2024

ASUCD ends year-and-a-half long state of emergency

As national, state and local governments return to normal operations, ASUCD follows suit

By KATHLEEN QUINN — campus@theaggie.org

On Oct. 7, ASUCD ended its state of emergency which began in March 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The original declaration of state of emergency included the cancellation of in-person meetings of 10 or more people and a transition to meeting via Zoom. It also closed several ASUCD units including the CoHo, KDVS, in-person events like Picnic Day and the Whole Earth Festival and the Pantry. The declaration was later revised as the pandemic progressed.

Ryan Manriquez, the ASUCD president and a fourth-year double majoring in political science and communication, said that the decision to end the state of emergency came naturally as national, state and local state of emergencies were removed.

Reimbursements for units, committees and commissions required approval by the controller and the business manager alone. The decision replaces pandemic procedures where the controller and business manager made most major decisions. This included reimbursement funds for units, committees and commissions which were not reimbursed without their approval. 

Kabir Sahni, the ASUCD senate president pro tempore and a fourth-year double majoring in communication and international relations, said that although pandemic procedures were intended to speed things up and streamline decision-making, as the campus returns to in-person instruction, it has created a bottle-neck at the top, slowing down activity within the association.

Though the state of emergency could have been ended by an act of the president in consultation with the cabinet and the senate pro tempore according to the ASUCD Bylaws, the senate made the decision to discontinue the state of emergency by a two-thirds majority.

“I advised them to wait about a week or two because of the numbers coming from the [internal affairs commission],” Manriquez said. “The books close for ASUCD in late July but we don’t get the final numbers until mid to late October so I wanted to be able to wait to 100% confidently make that determination that we were going to be OK.”

Sahni said he felt the decision not to move forward with the letter to discontinue the state of emergency was done without appropriate communication with the senate. 

“Suddenly he made the decision that he didn’t want to send out the letter to end it because he’s holding out for some numbers,” Sahni said. “I was not consulted, but the bylaws state that the only voice from senate members consulted is the pro tem.”

Aidan Kato, an interim senator and a third-year majoring in international relations, was the one member of the senate who voted against ending the state of emergency. He said he did so because he didn’t understand the consequences of voting yes until after the vote was taken. 

“As an interim senator, I was never briefed on or informed of the effects of the state of emergency—just that it was in existence,” Kato said via email.

Despite the particulars of how the vote and letter were sent out, the general consensus was that it was time for the state of emergency to end.

“The argument that the campus is no longer in a state of emergency is really all the argument we need to no longer be in one,” Manriquez said.

Written by: Kathleen Quinn — campus@theaggie.org

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