ASUCD president presented the State of the Association, and the ASUCD Senate passed seven pieces of legislation, three of which declared No Confidence in members of ASUCD and COSAF
By GABY SAINZ-MEDINA — email@example.com
The Senate meeting was called to order at 6:12 p.m. by Senate President Pro Tempore Kabir Sahni. Senate Recorder Sanaaz Nourkhaladj took attendance, then Vice President Juliana Martinez Hernandez recited the land acknowledgement.
President Ryan Manriquez started the meeting by presenting the State of the Association. He acknowledged the difficulties of transitioning to online services during the pandemic and the transition back to in-person this year.
Additionally, Manriquez noted the drop in student engagement in the election and the staffing shortages in ASUCD units such as the CoHo this year, along with solutions to these issues. Manriquez also brought up fees such as Student Activities and Services Initiative (SASI) and Campus Expansion Initiative (CEI) that go towards funding Intercollegiate Athletics.
“On these topics and on every single one that our student body faces, I will work tirelessly to accomplish the will of the students,” Manriquez said.
The Senate then called a break, and the meeting was called back to order at 6:40 p.m.
The Special Committee on Elections Reform then gave a quarterly report. Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) Chairperson Radhika Gawde presented the committee’s goal of improving election turnout and evaluating the previous election cycle. She additionally provided various issues the committee has struggled with including public outreach and announced her resignation as chair for when she commits as a senator.
The chairperson of the Sexual Assault Awareness and Advocacy Committee (SAAAC) Isaac Ocampo proceeded. The committee has been looking to expand and gain more members to help on projects. Its main goal is working on sexual assault prevention and its members are beginning with outreach to Greek life organizations.
The External Affairs Vice President (EAVP) Shruti Adusumilli explained how her office is now fully staffed and is working on reestablishing LobbyCorps that focuses on affordability of attending university and academic outreach. Other projects include Racial Justice Now (RJN), a memorial for the Pepper Spray Incident, and UCWeVote, which would make election day non instructional.
The Environmental Policy and Planning Committee (EPPC) Chairperson Sydney Cliff presented next. She stated that the committee is currently working on projects including styrofoam recycling, transitioning ASUCD to a paperless office and organizing textile recycling.
Ashley Chan, the chair of the Gender and Sexuality Commission (GASC), provided a quarterly report. The commission has so far met its hiring goals and is preparing to work on events that would take place in winter quarter. Some of these events include an activism week, a networking event, an open mic night and a pride festival in June.
Gawde spoke on behalf of the commission and discussed the role of IAC. The commission is fully staffed, and its current projects include supporting the Special Committee on Elections Reform.
The final commission to present was the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission (ECAC). Chairperson Jared Lopez explained that the commission is currently short-staffed and is accepting new members. It is also helping with the oversight of the Dream Commission and the Aggie Housing Advocacy Committee.
The Senate meeting then moved into Public Announcements, where senators discussed upcoming events.
Research and Data Committee Chairperson Stephen Fujimoto, attending as a member of the public, announced the launch of surveys that are being sent out on behalf of the committee, and encouraged students to fill them out.
Additionally, a member of the public encouraged students to attend a Social Services Commission meeting to encourage the city to create more affordable housing for students.
Public Discussion followed these announcements, and Senator Owen Krauss brought up the Senate’s concerns about ASUCD Business Manager Greg Ortiz and Creative Media Director Alex Park.
Krauss stated that the Senate had invited Ortiz and Park to a closed session where they could address their behavior in private, but both declined to attend.
Several members of the Senate described their experience working with Ortiz and Park.
“I went into Alex’s office with a particular person, and he said, and I quote, ‘Oh my god, you’ve lost so much weight,’” Sahni said. “Alex has since then passed other inappropriate comments.”
Martinez Hernandez also shared her interactions with Ortiz.
“I find it very uncomfortable to work with these people, especially the business manager,” Martinez Hernandez said. “I witnessed him berate a senator. I became the recipient of a bunch of insults that I feel I did not deserve.”
Academic Affairs Commission Chairperson Gabriela Tsudik then moved the Public Discussion in another direction, announcing that the Academic Affairs Commission meeting with the Academic Senate was going to happen the following day on Nov. 19. A break was then called.
The meeting came back to order at 9:22 p.m. and began with the elected officer reports where each member of the Senate recounted what they had done the previous week.
Following these reports, the members of the Senate began evaluating the proposed legislation, all of which were deemed emergency legislation in a unanimous vote.
SR #14 moved to proclaim November as Sikh Heritage Month at UC Davis. The Senate considered the resolution an emergency because it had to be passed before the month ended. The resolution passed unanimously.
SR #15 was a resolution of No Confidence in Ortiz in his capacity as ASUCD Business Manager. It lists the Senate’s grievances with Ortiz and states that the Senate “no longer recognizes the authority of the Business Manager” and demands that he make himself “available and accountable to the student body.”
Additionally, the resolution states that the Senate will take any appropriate means to diminish Ortiz’s power.
“If we have to act with toxicity, it is because this business manager does not treat us with respect, it is because it is what we have to do to get something done around here,” Krauss said. “It’s a moral imperative that we vote on this now before it happens again, before it’s one of us again. We have to have a united front.”
During Public Discussion, a member of the public Allie O’Brien said that Park has been accused by “multiple students” on campus of sexual assault and said that she and other students feel unsafe on the third floor.
SR #15 passed unanimously.
On top of passing the resolution, several members of the Senate additionally said they would no longer attend meetings where Park or Ortiz would be present in order to avoid feeling unsafe or uncomfortable in their office.
“This is my formal notice, I’m no longer going to be attending these weekly executive office management team meetings if they are there. I’m not going to any meetings that Greg is in, I just don’t feel comfortable hanging out with anyone like that,” Transfer Student Representative Tariq Azim said.
SR #16 was a resolution of No Confidence in Park, in his capacity as ASUCD Unit Director of Creative Media in regards to his “deplorable involvement in student elections and negligent behavior towards members of the ASUCD.”
“Alex Park has been pushing really biased, horrific narratives to people in administration about what happened in elections,” Gawde said. “This is putting a lot of people at risk, so I think we need to take all appropriate steps to make sure we’re addressing them.”
SR #16 passed unanimously, and a break was called following the vote.
The meeting came back to order at 12:04 a.m.
Sahni presented SR #12, a resolution of No Confidence in the Council of Student Affairs and Fees (COSAF). It passed unanimously with all commissions present at the meeting recommending that it pass.
The resolution calls 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,” as stated in the resolution.
The senators recalled a form that was sent out following a COSAF meeting earlier this quarter that addressed how students should ask the council questions. The form held suggestions for students to follow when addressing the council.
“One of the points was ‘silence is golden,’” Senator Maahum Shahab said. “We’re here to ask the hard questions on behalf of students, so let the questions be direct. There’s nothing wrong with being direct.”
SR #12 passed unanimously.
ECAC introduced SR #13, urging “UC Davis Leadership to recognize the Pepper Spray Incident of November 18th, 2011, and to commit to reevaluating the University’s response to disturbances by prioritizing student safety,” as stated in the resolution.
The resolution passed unanimously.
SB #26 “allocated $1,800.00 to compensate the IAC Vice Chairperson of Regulation and Finance as a paid position,” as stated in the bill. The bill passed unanimously.
SB #27 plans to “allocate $2,700.00 to the salaries of all ASUCD Commission Chairs” for the following winter quarter.
The Senate was then called into a closed session.
Ortiz and Park did not respond to The California Aggie’s request for comment on Nov. 22.
Written by: Gaby Sainz-Medina — firstname.lastname@example.org