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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

ASUCD Senate holds position confirmations

Interim senators, judicial council members and new chairpersons for the various committees confirmed during special session

By SYDNEY AMESTOY — campus@theaggie.org

On Thursday, August 11, at 6:00 p.m, Vice President JT Eden called the special session meeting of the Senate to order over Zoom, then read the UC Davis Land Acknowledgement. 

The purpose of this special session was the confirmation of numerous seats within ASUCD, including senators and chairpersons for various committees. 

The first action of the meeting was a quick, in-meeting, unanimous election of Juliana Martinez Hernandez as interim Senate president pro tempore for the duration of the meeting. Her term as interim Senate president pro tempore was just for the duration of the special session and ended at the conclusion of the meeting.

The Senate then confirmed nominees for interim senators for the rest of the summer session and fall quarter 2022. 

The first nominee was fourth-year cognitive science and statistics major Stephen Fujimoto, nominated by Eden. Fujimoto has worked for ASUCD for two years, as both an executive staffer and as the chairperson of the Research and Data Committee. 

“Nominating Stephen to become an interim senator was probably one of the easiest decisions this administration has made during our short term,” Eden said. “Stephen will make a fantastic addition to this table, and I look forward to working with him in the upcoming quarter.”

Fujimoto was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and will serve as an interim senator until the end of fall quarter 2022.

Vaneza Gonzaga, the second nominee for interim senator, was unavailable for the scheduled time of confirmation. Calls for the confirmation to be held virtually, without Gonzaga present for questioning, were challenged, and confirmation was postponed until Gonzaga arrived. 

Gonzaga was confirmed unanimously for the position later on in the meeting.

The next nominee to be confirmed for interim senator was Aarushi Raghunathan, a second-year economics and political science double major, and previous member of the Internal Affairs Committee. 

“I don’t have specific plans for the bylaws,” Raghunathan said in response to questions regarding her plans as interim senator. “I do have other plans more related to the entire student body, such as having the lectures being recorded mandatory, or at least having much more detail than the professors are providing, and I also wanted to work on having to-go boxes in the dining commons.”

 Raghunathan was confirmed unanimously as an interim senator.

The next item on the agenda was the confirmation of a new Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) chairperson. Nominee Megan Chung, a third-year political science major and previous AAC commissioner, was confirmed unanimously.

The AAC vice chairperson nominee, third-year public service and communications major Paige Szabadi, was then confirmed unanimously as well.

Due to difficulties with the preplanned schedule, the Senate postponed Gender And Sexuality Commision (GASC), Student Sustainability Career Fair (SSCF), Disability Rights Advocacy Committee (DRAC) and Judicial Council chairperson confirmations and skipped ahead to confirm a new Director of Communications. 

Rhea Bains, an incoming neurobiology major, was the nominee for this new ASUCD position. Bains was confirmed unanimously.

The Senate then confirmed Mary Padilla, a third-year international relations and gender and sex studies major, for the GASC vice chairperson.  

Dustin Tran, a political science major and former International Affairs Commission (IAC) commissioner, was then confirmed unanimously as the new IAC vice chairperson.

Kelly Abey, a third year environmental policy and sustainable design major and former EPPC commissioner, was then confirmed unanimously as the newly paid role of Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC) vice chairperson.

 Emma Riginski, a first-year environmental planning major, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as the new Associate Vice President of Internal Communications, a role involved in the hiring of ASUCD employees.

Next on the agenda was the confirmation of three new members of the Judicial Council.

The first candidate for Judicial Council was second-year international relations major Hadil Djadri, who was highly recommended by the interview committee, according to Eden. 

“I really wanted to be involved on campus, and serve our community in a way that I thought was most in line with my personal goals with the legal field,” Djadri said when asked why she applied for Judicial Council. “If my nomination is confirmed, I’d be really excited to serve our community and uphold the constitution.”

Djadri was confirmed for the position unanimously by the Senate.

Samantha Figglieti, an incoming first-year student also highly recommended by the interview committee, was then questioned and confirmed unanimously by the Senate.

“This position is also very similar to the roles I played in my previous student government experience, as the student government vice president [in high school], and within that position I interpreted the school’s constitution,” Figglieti said.

Madison Whittemore, a second-year political science major, was the third nominee for Judicial Council, and said that she had plans to help foster a more active Judicial Council.

“One of my main goals is to make sure all legislation passed is reviewed by the Judicial Council in a timely manner,” Whittemore said.

Whittemore was confirmed unanimously.

The Senate then moved to confirm former ASUCD president Ryan Manriquez as the new DRAC chairperson. Manriquez, a fifth-year political science and communications major, was confirmed unanimously for the position.

After a short break, Senate moved on to confirming the new SSCF chairperson Mariah Padilla, a third-year community and regional development major and long-time member of the SSCF.

Jordan Kosai, a third-year environmental design major, was also unanimously confirmed as a SSCF member.

The Senate also confirmed second-year public service major Amanda Hamblin as chairperson of the Donation Drive Committee.

The last confirmations of the evening were new members being confirmed for the various groups and committees of the AAC. Chung, the new AAC chairperson, recommended all nominees.

The Staff Diversity Committee’s nominees were first, with Lil Jansen, Ociano Lazo and Cassandra Perez all being unanimously confirmed as members.

Following that, Spoorthi Giridhar, Agueda Berlot, Perez, Edward Chan and Britney Cao were confirmed to the AAC Media Board.

The Disability Issues Administrative Advisory Committee saw the unanimous confirmation of Manriquez and Cao by the Senate.

The Status of Women at Davis Committee confirmations followed, with Serena Broome, Gabriella Tsudi and Michelle Estrada all confirmed.

The Public Art Committee nominees, Eavin Leitner-Woolf and Hiyab Berhe, were unanimously confirmed. 

Aidan Carr, Jessica Lee and Morgan Wong were all unanimously confirmed for the Mondavi Center Committee.

Grace Gallop, Wong and Berhe were confirmed for the Child and Family Care Committee.

The Course Materials and Service Fees Committee saw the unanimous confirmations of Lazo and Estrada.

Finally, the Transportation Services Committee saw the unanimous confirmation of Chloe Cheung and Tracy Zhu.

With the final confirmations of the special session complete, the Senate moved to temporarily open the 2022-2023 budget and consult ASUCD Controller Derek Neyer.

The first recommendation brought up by Neyer was a move to begin the pay period for both Aggie Reuse and Whole Earth festival staff, as recommended by the respective staff. This comes as Lower Freeborn Hall, the home of KDVS radio, faces demolition and seeks to move into the EcoHub, which is the office space currently occupied by Aggie Reuse and Whole Earth festival staff members. The respective staff seek to move their starting date to August 14, with 19 hour work weeks, to move out of their office. 

The proposed measure would see $2100 taken from the general fund for payment to the respective staff. Neyer responded to questioning from Senator Fujimoto about how this measure would affect the budget.

“Of course we have a balanced budget, and this would mean we’re [$2100] out of balance,” Neyer said. “I would say we should explore requesting the funds from student affairs because […] they would take on the cost of the move, and I consider this part of the move. If that is not fruitful, we can pursue other options for funding, but at this time it would come out of the general fund.”

The measure was ultimately passed unanimously.

The final change to the budget was a change to the salary of a new executive position in ASUCD, the Deputy Director of the communications branch, which seeks to absorb some responsibilities currently held by the Chief of Staff. This measure was also passed unanimously, and the 2022-2023 budget was motioned closed by the Senate.

The conclusion of the special session was a forum held by Eden thanking the Senate and congratulating new members of ASUCD. In this forum it was unanimously decided that another special session would be held before the start of fall quarter 2022 to finish confirming all paid positions.

At 9:45 p.m., thirty minutes ahead of schedule, Eden officially adjourned the special session of the ASUCD Senate. 

Written by: Sydney Amestoy — campus@theaggie.org