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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

UC Student Association, Unitrans give reports at April 20 meeting

Creative Media also gave a report, highlighting their plans for spring election promotion and Lawntopia

 

By SONORA SLATER — campus@theaggie.org

 

Vice President JT Eden called the April 20 Senate meeting to order at 6:11 p.m., before inviting UC Student Association (UCSA) President Alex Niles up to the podium for a presentation. 

The organization is an advocacy group with representatives across the UCs, and, according to Niles, some of their current priorities include student housing, basic needs initiatives, campus safety, removing punitive financial practices and disability student programs.

Next, Director Jeff Flynn gave the quarterly report for Unitrans. Its rider numbers have been very high, according to Flynn, which he attributed to the cold and wet weather. The unit continues to get closer to pre-pandemic staffing.

Its main challenge at the moment is dealing with the safety issues presented by the placement of the Silo bus terminal across the street from the relatively new Teaching and Learning Complex. This year is the first time that the building has been open while the number of students on campus has been equivalent to pre-pandemic numbers, and the high bike traffic in this area has made buses slower and more dangerous for riders, according to Flynn.

In the short-term, their solution is to implement a crossing guard system in the area from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, which began on the week of March 21. The crossing guards were hired from Men in Black Security, a private contractor, but Flynn is hoping to make the position a student job in the fall. The crossing guards are currently costing ASUCD around $80,000 a quarter.

Longer term, he explained that there are discussions happening about moving the Silo bus station slightly down the road to a less-trafficked area. 

“[The crossing guards system] has been a bit bumpy so far,” Flynn said. “We’ve had feedback both positive and negative.”

He also gave an update on the progress of the near-zero emission bus project, saying that 11 out of 13 of the engines have been completed and noting that the project was funded by The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), which is up for renewal in the ASUCD spring elections. 

Unitrans will be hosting a service change proposal feedback meeting on April 27 at 4 p.m. at the Davis Senior Center; the meeting is open to the public, and the focus will be on discussing slight route and schedule modifications and increasing service frequency consistency.

Next, former Environmental Policy Planning Committee (EPPC) Chairperson Mackenzie Field resigned from her position, and third-year environmental policy analysis and planning and sustainable environmental design double major Kelly Abey was confirmed as the new chairperson.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” Field said. “It’s genuinely been a very swag time. Now that I have infinitely more free time, reach out to me if you want to hang out.”

Next, second-year cognitive science major McKenna Rangel, third-year sociology and Spanish double major Silvia Rodriguez and fourth-year biology major Zia Moore were unanimously confirmed as members of the DREAM Committee. Then, second-year international relations and economics double major Vrinda Vutukury and second-year psychology major Sanjana Gudivada were confirmed as members of the Sexual Assault Awareness Advocacy Committee.

“I come from a country where rape culture is prominent,” Vutukury said. “There are a lot of women on this campus walking around who have gone through sexual assault. I want to make campus a safe space for them and empower them to hold their perpetrators accountable.”

Creative Director and fourth-year history and English double major Isabella Chuecos gave Creative Media’s quarterly report. Chuecos said that Creative Media has been busy with merchandise orders for various units, election promotion projects and preparation for Lawntopia on April 28 and the ASCUD Pride Festival on June 2. 

Transfer Student Representative Logan Ueno gave the office of the TSR’s quarterly report. He said that the recent Student Lobby Day, which was held to advocate for increased student financial aid through Cal Grants, budget increases for disability services and protections for pregnant students, went well. Coming up later this quarter, the office will be focusing on welcoming new transfer student admits, including during Transfer Aggie Day on May 5 and at a transfer welcome panel later in May.

After a 15-minute break, the Senate moved into elected officer reports, where senators described their activities. They reviewed the status of previous legislation and then introduced new legislation.

New legislation included Senate Bill (SB) #93, which would limit Senate discussion to 40 minutes to increase the efficiency of meetings, SB #94, which would change the format of elected officer reports, also for the purpose of increasing meeting efficiency, SB #95, which would establish the ASUCD Pride Festival as a unit and SB #96, which would establish the ASUCD Innovation and Research unit, possibly replacing the current Research and Data Committee (R&DC).

All of these were assigned to the Internal Affairs Commission for review, with SB #95 also being assigned to the Gender and Sexuality Commission and SB #96 being assigned to R&DC.

There was no old legislation on the agenda, so the table approved past meeting minutes and then moved into open forum.

Daniel Mojica wanted to make the Senate aware of an upcoming protest against a public library event hosting an “anti-trans speaker.”

Another member of the Senate table asked the senators to consider turning off the lights for the beginning of their meeting next week and relying on natural light from the windows, in order to log extra points for the sustainability-based Cool Campus Challenge between UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

Senator Jacob Klein expressed his opinion that candidates for elections should not be allowed to have one-on-one meetings with the elections chairperson. Eden said that it was not against the bylaws, but the Senate could make changes in the future if it felt that it was necessary.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:57 p.m., nearly two hours ahead of schedule.

“Go team!” Eden said.

Written by: Sonora Slater — campus@theaggie.org