63.4 F

Davis, California

Monday, April 22, 2024

Senators discuss Senate articles, the candidate debate, Creative Media Commission

SR #12 passed unanimously

By CHRISTINE LEE — campus@theaggie.org

ASUCD Internal Vice President Juliana Martinez Hernandez called the Senate meeting to order on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 7:45 p.m.

Without enough senators seated to meet quorum, the meeting started two minutes later.

Senior Director Adrian Lopez gave a presentation on Government and Community Relations. 

“Government and Community Relations is basically the official voice to elected officials and their staffs,” Lopez said. “Our team leads UC Davis and UC Davis Health efforts, budget, priorities for the campus, legislative priorities.”

Lopez stressed the importance of gaining students’ perspectives.

“We have our talking points, and the students have other points that they want to bring up that maybe don’t align with us and that’s perfectly fine,” Lopez said. “I always want to reiterate that we’re a big family and we’re not always going to agree but on most issues, we do.”

Internal Affairs Commission Chair Radhika Gawde questioned if the department would support SR #10, which calls for a state audit into UC Davis’ mismanagement of student fees. 

“We’ll let it run its course, and we’ll comply and provide information as needed,” Lopez said in response.

Anjini Venugopal, the editor-in-chief of The California Aggie, provided The Aggie’s quarterly report and responded to questions from the Senate.

Gabriela Tsudik, the chairperson of the Academic Affairs Committee gave a quarterly report.

“We’ve been managing mental health as a student workshop, working with advisors from student health and counseling services,” Tsudik said. “Probably around week one for winter quarter and as the quarter starts making sure students know of mental health resources and what’s available to them.”

During Public Announcements, Senator Owen Krauss addressed the anniversary of the November 2015 Paris attacks. Recounting the night of the ISIS bombing and shooting attacks that left 130 people dead and 350 injured, Krauss gave the statement first in his native language of French followed by English, as the attacks were an international issue.

In Public Discussion, President Ryan Manriquez talked about the death of disability rights activist, Engracia Figueroa, who died after her specialized wheelchair was destroyed in a United Airlines flight.

“I’ve been in this position so many times. I know it could’ve been me, but I also know it’s probably 10 times worse not only for a disabled person but a disabled woman of color,” Manriquez said.

Krauss then brought up an issue surrounding the candidate debate in the election this fall. He wanted to address some of the responses from the candidates which he called “abysmal.”

“One person proceeded to say that they didn’t know much about committees and commissions and then proceeded to say that they weren’t necessary and that they were essentially a roadblock to engage with the student body instead of a means of activism,” Krauss said.

He also stated that one of the candidates said low voter turnout in ASUCD elections was a result of ASUCD’s lack of effort to increase student participation.

“They believe that if we have less voter turnout, it is ASUCD’s fault and ASUCD has failed them, the student body, when we have archaic systems put in place systematically and we’re trying to reform that but apparently that’s not enough for some candidates,” Krauss said.

Krauss avoided naming specific candidates but stated that the Senate table could do so after the meeting off the record.

“Once [this candidate realizes] the structure of the association is that collaborating with commissions is of the utmost importance, when they come to you, please hold them accountable for the things they ran on,” Senate President Pro Tempore Kabir Sahni said.

“I remember I came in with zero experience, but I had the willingness to learn about our bylaws and internal structures and not just say, ‘Oh, hey, I don’t really understand so don’t do anything, don’t vote on these things,” Manriquez said.

“Something else that I wanted to talk about with the candidate debate is I think that the turnout was really disappointing,” External Affairs Vice President Shruti Adusumilli said. “One from the candidates but also from the attendees.”

Adusumilli brought concerns about Creative Media’s work on advertising the debate and asked if it was the Election Committee’s job to do so.

Sahni brought up problems with an ASUCD video, particularly when the question, “What do you want to see in your student government?” was asked to a group of people and received the answer “diversity.”

“Essentially, no offense, but with love and respect, I say cis, het white men are the only people who are not here,” Sahni said.

Additionally, Sahni expressed issues with Aggie Studio’s coverage of the elections, such as their publication of wrong information and the use of a candidate’s deadname.

“When I finally DMed them they said, ‘as an ASUCD-affiliate, I hoped that you would’ve brought this to my attention with more respect,’ like […] you’re using someone’s wrong name,” Sahni said. “They’re completely incompetent and they’re not willing to change.”

Senator Maahum Shahab then brought up an issue with the way members of ASUCD student government interact with others and perceive themselves.

“There are folks who feel like they know everything. They come into the space like they know how things go, they know how things run, they’re the most qualified to be there, they’re going to be the savior of every marginalized community on campus, they’re going to make a huge difference on campus like no one has ever done like them before,” Shahab said. “And I don’t want to say this is an issue with just one person. I’ve literally heard people say in this space, ‘Oh, I’m more qualified than so and so.’”

Shahab further elaborated on her point.

“Let’s be honest; nobody cares that we’re here right now busting our butts at 11 p.m.,” Shahab said. “Nobody on this campus cares we’re here. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. But what will matter to each and every one of you, once you leave, is how much you took from this experience, for the years that you’re here.”

Sahni wanted to conclude remarks about the Creative Media Committee.

“Whenever [Alex Park, the unit director of Creative Media] is with a particular senator, he tries to act like he has a really good bond with that particular one person, and it’s kind of harmful because it’s kind of like he’s trying to get their ear to work against the rest of the people and their concerns,” Sahni said. 

SR #12 was passed unanimously. From the document, SR #12 is “an ASUCD Senate Resolution to condemn the actions and inactions of the Council Of Student Affairs And Fees (COSAF), its internal practices, its systemic failures to promote transparency, the opacity in its hiring procedures, and to seek concrete and immediate reforms from COSAF to redress these harms by declaring no confidence in COSAF as an institutional body.”

Martinez Hernandez adjourned the meeting at 11:14 p.m. 

Written by: Christine Lee — campus@theaggie.org


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