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Davis

Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Senators heard quarterly reports, discussed the mask mandate, passed emergency bills

SB #62, #59, #24, #58 and #60 passed unanimously 

By SYDNEY AMESTOY — campus@theaggie.org

Vice President Juliana Martinez Hernandez called the meeting to order at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 3 and read the land acknowledgment. 

The Club Finance Council (CFC), a program that provides grants for student organizations through the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) then gave a presentation on its work this quarter and its future goals. The CSI Grants Student Manager Huda Saleh and the CSI Campus Activities Coordinator Joseph Martinez, discussed their operations and how they have helped registered student organizations apply for and receive grants. This quarter, the CFC budget has increased to allow them to give more money — up to $3,000 — to create a new website and expand their advertising. 

The council has had 64 applications from various registered student organizations over the past two quarters, and it has allocated $14,008 to these clubs for many reasons, including travel costs. According to Saleh and Martinez, the best way for registered student organizations to reach out to the CFC is through the Aggie Life website.

Next, a representative from the UC Davis School of Law came to speak on behalf of the 700 law students at UC Davis and the Law Student Association (LSA). The speaker, Ethan Christianson, asked for collaboration between ASUCD and the LSA in regards to issues such as the lifting of the mask mandate, parking and a lack of student housing, especially for graduate students.

President Pro Tempore Radhika Gawde expressed interest in extending this collaboration to legal advice for ASUCD. 

“That would be immensely helpful in strengthening both of our advocacy, if we didn’t get threatened with a lawsuit every time we tried to do something,” Gawde said.

Then there was a presentation given by UC Davis student Calvin Wong, who provided an update on his push to eliminate SASI and CEI, two student fees that go toward funding UC Davis Athletics. He sought support from ASUCD in regards to having a referendum to eliminate these fees on the spring quarter ballot after receiving conflicting information from the administration. This included an email that cited a specific guide to having a measure listed on the ballot, which contradicted a previous email from a different member of the administration. 

The Senate table then moved on to instating new members of several different ASUCD committees and commissions. This included three new members of the Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) and three new members of the Academic Affairs Commission. All were voted in unanimously.

Commission Chair Kabir Sahni and Vice Chair Jaisey Joseph then provided the IAC’s quarterly report. This quarter, the commission introduced 12 new pieces of legislation and advised on 76% of all legislation. 

The Disability Right Advocacy Committee also gave its quarterly report and shared future plans on making the ASUCD Gardens more accessible and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.

The Research and Data Committee then gave its quarterly report, highlighting the recent surveys done by the committee during the quarter. These surveys include the food insecurity survey, the transfer student experience survey and the ASUCD student worker survey, which is ongoing. The committee has two planned surveys for spring quarter: the environmental justice survey and the equitable access survey. Next quarter, the committee also seeks to hire a new chair and to write an official handbook.

The Picnic Day Committee then gave its quarterly report, which focused on the limited budget for this year’s Picnic Day. The unit is currently recruiting 220 volunteers and still needs about 90 more. There will be fewer t-shirts sold at Picnic Day as compared to previous years, along with other merchandise such as hats and stickers.

Campus Center for the Environment’s quarterly report included recent work done at the ASUCD garden, such as clearing debris and refurbishing overgrown pathways. The center will also bring back compost runs on campus, in which compost bins will be biked around campus by an employee from the center. 

The Sexual Assault Advocacy and Awareness Committee (SAAAC) gave its quarterly report on current projects, such as their collaboration with the Gender and Sexualities Commission, an Instagram account meant to educate students on UC policy toward sexual assault and Title IX. SAAAC has current plans to reach out to fraternities in particular. 

Finally, the Office of the Transfer Student Representative (OTSR) gave its quarterly report following the unanimous confirmation of a new student employee. The OTSR spoke of its collaboration with the Research and Data Committee on the transfer student survey from winter quarter, as well as its staff being able to attend the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students conference.

After a brief 20-minute break, the Senate regathered and held a small dialogue session on the upcoming end to mask mandates on campus on March 19. Some senators and chairs brought up the idea of having ASUCD affiliates keep their mask mandate, but the idea was dropped in favor of encouraging the student population to continue to wear masks. It was then brought up that Unitrans, which as a form of public transportation, must follow federal guidelines.

International Student Representative Kevin Zhou brought up the unique problems international students may face during the pandemic during the mask mandate discussion. According to Zhou, they may have received different kinds of non-mRNA vaccines, and some may not be fluent in English which could create a language barrier if they were to go to the hospital for COVID-19. 

“We are here to receive a higher education, not a higher infection rate,” Zhou said.

After this brief debate, the table discussed two emergency bills, SB #62 and SB XX. 

SB #62 was raised by the Picnic Day Committee in regards to an error made in their budget last year in regards to money set aside for hats. The bill, which was passed unanimously, saw $34,000.99 allocated to fixing this deficit.

SB XX was raised by Senator Dennis Liang and Senator Gaius Ilupeji to suspend ASUCD Bylaws Section 14, which defines the Elections Code. This was spearheaded by the current Cow for Mascot movement on the ballot, which Liang and Ilupeji believe could encourage more participation in voting. None of the acts defined in the bill received necessary approval after lengthy debate, and the bill was tabled indefinitely. 

“Voting to end an elections code is so unethical, and so beyond wrong, that that should be enough for you to vote against it,” Gawde said.

After the emergency bills, the Senate moved on to other bills, including SB #59, which seeks to eliminate a task force in the ASUCD executive branch delegated to funding events for the executive staff. The bill was passed unanimously. 

SB #24 seeks to commit to full electrification of heating and cooling on campus, transparency between the community and campus government and having all student leadership operations become fossil fuel free. The bill passed unanimously.

SB #58 seeks to change the one time allocation fund for unit directors from $500 to $1,000. The bill was passed unanimously.

SB #60 seeks to change the balance in the IAC’s ability to edit bills and the anonymity of senators to address IAC concerns. The bill passed unanimously. 

The meeting was adjourned by Martinez Hernandez at 12:13 a.m.

Written by: Sydney Amestoy — campus@theaggie.org

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