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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Senators discuss executive overstepping of powers, hear quarterly reports and farewell comments at Dec. 1 meeting

Several new officers were sworn in and seated for winter quarter 2023

 

By LILY FREEMAN – campus@theaggie.org

 

Vice President JT Eden called the meeting to order at 6:13 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1. After roll call, he read the UC Davis Land Acknowledgement.

Next, Senators Celeste Palmer, Alexis Reyes and Vaneza Gonzaga and External Affairs Vice President Shruti Adusumilli all gave their farewell comments as their time on the Senate floor was up at the end of the quarter. 

“Being a part of student government and ASUCD has really shaped a lot of my college experience,” Adusumilli said. “Being on ASUCD, you truly gain a lot of learning experiences that other people would not have at such a young age while in college.” 

The seating of new officers, as well as judicial council member and interim senator confirmations, followed these farewell comments. 

Stephen Fujimoto, Jacob Klein, Zeki Xu, Aarushi Raghunathan and Erek Leschyn were all sworn in and seated as senators. 

Shrey Gupta, a first-year computer science major, was sworn in and seated as interim senator. 

Celene Aridin, a third-year international relations major, was sworn in and seated as external affairs vice president.

Logan Tatsuya Ueno, a fourth-year political science major, was sworn in and seated as the transfer student representative. 

Next, President Radhika Gawde gave the State of the Association Address. 

“People just don’t feel that ASUCD is a value,” Gawde said. “I want us to be reminded that while our wins this quarter are something to take pride in, we must do more to proactively communicate toward the student body about the important work that we do.” 

Following the address was a presentation by Jenny Vaccari, an assistant at Ombuds UC Davis, who explained how this office supports the student community. Ombuds assists UC Davis community members by listening to and helping resolve conflict, according to Vaccari, whether that be through individual meetings with Ombuds assistants or group workshops. 

Next, the Senate moved to public comments. First, Senate President Pro Tempore Gauis Ilupeju spoke about his authority in the Senate.

“Since I was elected in week six, [Eden] has been performing duties that are the responsibilities of [the President Pro Tempore],” Ilupeju said. “I have approached [Eden] on several occasions to remind him of what my responsibilities are [and] to achieve a diplomatic resolution to the matter. Altogether, he was dismissive of the comments I raised, [and] it has become increasingly apparent that the executive branch has overstepped its bounds.” 

Responding to Ilupeju’s comment directly, Eden publicly apologized for the overstepping of bounds that Ilupeju put forth, and said that he hopes to improve this partnership throughout both of their terms. Ilupeju then publicly accepted this apology. 

Next, Klein publicly commented on a different subject.

“I have heard […] that various members of the table, who I am not going to name […] have accused me of holding dual loyalty to Israel, which is an antisemitic trope,” Klein said. “I want to mention on the official record that I found it very disheartening. I do open this up for anyone [to] identify yourself as being one of these people who asked if I was holding dual loyalty. I invite you to say what you have to say now.” 

While senators did publicly apologize for what Klein has experienced, no individual identified themself as someone who made these accusations against him. 

Following public comments, several quarterly reports took place. The Campus Center for the Environment, the Mental Health Initiative, the Office of the International Student Representative, the Research and Data Committee, the Judicial Council and the Unit Relocation and Space Allocation Committee all gave presentations on the work that their respective organizations have completed over the quarter. 

The Mental Health Initiative specifically outlined that they collaborated with MannMukti to raise awareness for National Men’s Mental Health Awareness month in November and that they are looking forward to their upcoming Mental Health Conference, which will take place on Jan. 21-22, 2023. 

The Office of the International Student Representative said that this quarter, they hosted an international student welcome panel, orientation and roundtable. They also completed translations of Unitrans bus-boarding directions in Japanese and Korean. These translations are published on the Unitrans website. They plan to continue their translational work for ASUCD units in the coming quarter. 

The Judicial Council highlighted current challenges that they are facing as a body, which primarily involve understaffing. According to the report, they need a clerk and more members to more efficiently get through all legislation in the future. 

Following quarterly reports, the Senate table moved on to consider legislation. With the vacancy on the Judicial Council finally filled, a vacancy which had delayed the consideration of legislation in previous meetings, several pieces of legislation were voted on. 

SB #39, which clarifies the scope of the Aggie Housing Advocacy Committee, was assigned to Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission and the Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) for review.

SB #41, which clarifies the fair use of injunctions by the Judicial Council on legislation and actions, was assigned to the IAC for review. 

Emergency SB exempts The California Aggie from submitting a quarterly report. It was passed via a 9-1-2 roll call vote.

SB #35, which amends the Elections Code to specify the roles and responsibilities of the election officer, was passed unanimously.

SB #36, which ensures compliance with the Constitution on the timeline of spring elections, was passed unanimously. 

Because the meeting was running an hour and a half behind schedule, Senator Stephen Fujimoto moved to amend the agenda so that the considerations of SB #37, SB #40 and the DRIP II amendment were postponed to the next regularly-scheduled Senate meeting. 

“People are tired,” Fujimoto said, “I do not think that in this state of mind [we] should be considering bills.” 

With seven members voting in favor of amending the agenda, two voting in opposition and three abstaining, the motion was approved. 

Eden adjourned the meeting at 12:42 a.m.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include corrected information about SB #39 and SB #41, as well as Emergency SB. A previous version of this article stated that all three of these pieces of legislation passed unanimously; however, SB #39 and SB #41 were only introduced, not voted on, at the Dec. 1 meeting, and Emergency SB passed, but not unanimously.  

Written by: Lily Freeman — campus@theaggie.org