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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Amanda Clark confirmed as new Judicial Council chairperson

Senate sees ASUCD confirmations, quarterly reports and new legislation at Oct. 20 meeting 

By SYDNEY AMESTOY — campus@theaggie.org

 

Vice President JT Eden called the meeting to order at 6:12 p.m., then read the land acknowledgment statement and called roll for the senators.

The first things on the meeting’s agenda were various nominations for members and chairs of a few ASUCD committees. 

The first was the confirmation of Amanda Clark, who was unanimously confirmed as the new Judicial Council chairperson. Clark, a second-year political science public service major, already had experience being a part of the Judicial Council, ASUCD’s judicial branch that provides checks on the Senate. Her confirmation process consisted of a lengthy panel of questions from a few senators about her experience on the council and her goals for the council as chairperson. 

“I interviewed Amanda when she applied for Judicial Council the first time, and I think she was the most qualified candidate we had in that interview cycle,” ASUCD President Radhika Gawde said of Clark. “We were really impressed by her.” 

The Disability Rights Advocacy Committee (DRAC) then confirmed its four nominees, all recommended by former ASUCD President and current DRAC Chairperson Ryan Manriquez, who was present virtually. All four were confirmed simultaneously through a unanimous motion. 

The Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) then unanimously confirmed four new members, out of order in the schedule due to one of the nominees not being able to attend until thirty minutes into the meeting. 

Mariah Padilla, a fourth-year community and regional development major and a previous member of the Student Sustainability Career Fair Commission (SSCF), was then unanimously confirmed as the new SSCF chair, which is now a paid position. 

Yoanna Soliman, a graduate student in the Chemistry department, was then unanimously elected chair of the STEM committee, which oversees student outreach and equity in STEM programs. Soliman was previously a member of the committee. 

The unanimous confirmation of a new Academic Affairs Commission chairperson finished out the confirmations for the night and was followed by a round of public comments. 

Senator Aarushi Raghunathan began a discussion about the controversy surrounding Turning Point USA’s coming to campus on October 25.

“[President Gawde and I] are meeting with AVC Atkinson on this issue, as well as campus council, to inquire about how they came to this decision, and why they didn’t come up with a different decision,” Eden said about the executive branch’s plans to discuss the on-campus event.

It was also brought to the attention of the Senate that the position of Vice Controller was still vacant.

Next on the agenda was quarterly reports from some ASUCD units, committees and commissions.

Mariah Padilla gave the SSCF quarterly report first. SSCF is in charge of running the sustainability fair on campus and seeks to provide equitable access for students interested in sustainability as part of its mission statement. According to Padilla, the SSCF’s past quarter has been marked by numerous social media and in-person events for students. They are planning to hold a fall sustainability networking event in November at the Student Community Center. 

ASUCD Dining Services, in charge of the market and restaurants in the CoHo, presented a 32% growth this past quarter in their quarterly report. The report also stated that Dining Service was experiencing the effects of shipping delays and a staffing shortage. 

The Bike Barn’s quarterly report was then given by fourth-year Yael Berrol, the unit’s business manager. Berrol reported that the Bike Barn is currently looking to hire three or four new mechanics and that they have had a reported $16,000 in rentals so far this year as of the meeting. 

The Office of External Affairs then gave its report to the Senate, emphasizing its work with the UC Student Association to enact local and state policy for all UC campuses.

The Senate then saw a presentation by members of The Green Initiative (TGIF) who proposed to reinstate a student fee that would allow the program to continue operations. TGIF, which helps students access grants for sustainability research, was previously funded by an $8 student fee that was recently overturned. The new proposed fee, which would start out at $3.50 a student and increase by $0.50 each year, ultimately capping at $8 in 2034, would need to be passed for the program to continue. This proposition is the basis of SB #18. 

The Senate then moved to new legislation and unanimously passed SB #19 and SB #20 along to the IAC for further review. 

Previously mentioned SB #18 was then brought up for discussion with much deliberation. It passed unanimously and will be present on the fall ballot.

SB #12 sought to instate a formal end time of 10:30 p.m. for Senate meetings in the bylaws. 

Senator Martinez Hernandez voted no on the bill, saying that it was possibly misleading to the public, as Senate meetings often go over the predicted end time on the agenda, and could be possibly detrimental to the Senate in getting things done on the agenda on time. Senator Raghunathan also spoke on the bill.

“Just because we are ahead of time tonight does not mean that will continue,” said Senator Raghunathan. “I am a teen girl who has to walk home at night, so I think there should be some protection to keep meetings from running into 2 a.m. like last year.” 

The bill went to vote after a move to unanimously pass it was objected to. The bill passed 9-2 but was vetoed by President Gawde.

SB #14 aims to clarify the role of injunctions from the Judicial Council after the Council recently injuncted a student-voted measure. The bill led to a serious discussion about the role that the judicial branch serves within ASUCD, and whether this bill would infringe upon that.  

“It is [the judicial branch’s] job to keep us in check, the executive branch’s job to keep them in check and our job to keep the executive office in check, so I think that while we can agree to disagree with [the judicial branch’s] actions, I don’t see it as our job to tell them what they can or can’t do,” Senator Schnelbach said on the topic.

Ultimately, the bill passed at 5-4-2, but was vetoed by President Gawde.

SB #17 seeks to help facilitate debate in Senate meetings by placing more explicit facilitation rules directly in the bylaws. After President Gawde explained the rules of debate to the Senate, the bill passed unanimously. 

A guide on the process of placing a student fee on the ballot was put on hold until the next meeting due to a number of senators being unfamiliar with the material in question.

During open forum, it was decided that the quarterly Town Hall meeting would be moved to week 6, with a location to be announced at a later date. 

With that, Vice President Eden adjourned the meeting at 10:48 p.m., slightly ahead of schedule. 

 

Written by: Sydney Amestoy — campus@theaggie.org