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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Senate special session held with associate vice chancellor of student life

Senate met with Sheri Atkinson, the associate vice chancellor of student life, to discuss concerns about ASUCD business manager and the director of Creative Media

By EMILY REDMAN — campus@theaggie.org

The Senate meeting was called to order at 5:03 p.m. by Vice President Juliana Martinez Hernandez. She then recited the UC Davis Land Acknowledgment.

This session was held to discuss concerns with Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Life Sheri Atkinson about Alex Park, the director of Creative Media, and ASUCD Business Manager Greg Ortiz.

At the Nov. 18 Senate meeting, senators shared that they were uncomfortable working with Park and Ortiz which led to resolutions of no confidence for both ASUCD staff members. Prior to these resolutions, Park and Ortiz were offered closed sessions to discuss these issues. Both declined to attend.

Atkinson said she understood why she was invited to the meeting and that she was willing to listen and share information about next steps. 

“Typically what happens is there is a conversation where we give employees an opportunity to make some changes,” Atkinson said.

Student Advocate Devin Santiago-Vergara spoke about his experience working with Ortiz.

“The communication was not good,” Santiago-Vergara said. “I tried my best to be on top of it but there was a lack of communication between us.”

Atkinson described possible next steps regarding Park and Ortiz. Typically, there would be a private discussion where they would be presented letters of expectation outlining changes that needed to be made. If no change is seen, then the human resources department would need to get involved.

“Part of the reason why I wanted to come tonight is to talk to you all, but I do not want to escalate the situation,” Atkinson said. “I am committed to engaging in a way that includes looking into these things further and more comprehensively.”

President Pro Tempore Kabir Sahni said he wanted members of ASUCD to have the right to refuse to work with Park and Ortiz for the time being.

“I think that is one thing we could potentially consider,” Atkinson said. “I have some ideas that maybe we could talk about.”

The Senate then discussed timelines for when it can move forward with the steps outlined in the meeting.

“I want to find a way to come back from winter break in a better place,” Atkinson said. 

Martinez Hernandez adjourned the meeting at 6:28 p.m.

Ortiz and Park did not respond to a request for comment on Nov. 29.

Written by: Emily Redman — campus@theaggie.org

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