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Davis

Davis, California

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Senate hears from ASUCD Units who oppose recent budget decisions

They also heard quarterly reports from Aggie Reuse, Whole Earth Festival

 

By RACHEL GAUER— campus@theaggie.org

 

Vice President JT Eden called the meeting to order at 6:12 p.m. on Thursday, May 25. Eden then recited the UC Davis Land Acknowledgement. 

First, the Senate moved into the confirmation of the Interim International Student Representative (ISR) Noah Shrestha, a second-year international relations major. Shrestha will serve for the remainder of the academic year. 

The Judicial Council (JC) recently ruled that the ISR and Transfer Student Representative (TSR) positions now have voting power in the Senate. Senator Fujimoto expressed his concern in swearing in the new candidate under these new conditions.

“I think as members of the table we should be in the mentality that we are confirming an interim senator,” said Fujimoto. “I argued in front of JC that I think it’s very problematic and concerning that an executive branch member has […] legislative authority in the Senate. […]  I don’t think I will be voting in favor of this candidate tonight.” 

After several other comments and questions from other members of the Senate table, they moved into a roll call vote for Shrestha’s confirmation, and with a 8-3-2 vote, the vote passed and Shrestha was confirmed as the interim ISR. 

Next, the Senate heard a presentation from Alex Lee, a UC Davis alumnus who currently serves as a state assemblymember for California’s 24th District. Lee served as ASUCD President during the 2016-2017 academic year and graduated with a double major in political science and communication. 

“I think this experience really prepared me to become a state legislator,” said Lee. “I have never been elected to any other ‘real office’ before. I was an [ASUCD] senator, then president, and then elected as a state assemblymember.” 

Lee, who is 25 years old, also spoke about his experience as a particularly young member of the state assembly. 

“The fact of the matter is, I serve with people who I am the same age as their grandchildren or children,” said Lee. “But the reality as young people is that we are judged by a different metric, especially when you are queer or a person of color, as I am. You must work 100 times harder to just be equal.” 

Following the presentation, the Senate moved into public comments. Members in support of a greater budget for the Entertainment Council (EC) and other ASUCD units after the recent budget hearings for the 2023-2024 academic year attended and spoke about their disappointment regarding the recent budget decreases for the council.  

Keegan Thompson, a second-year communication major and a representative of Entertainment Council, spoke in support of EC.

 “I’m not here to say, ‘Just give us more money,’ because I understand that’s what everyone wants,” Thompson said. “But I want to just spread awareness that people like what we do and I think we’re doing it really like it as well. We just want to be able to keep doing that.” 

Kaya Kurtz, a third-year sustainable environmental design major who is one of the satellite operations managers for the ASUCD Pantry, expressed her concern regarding the summer budget for the unit.  

“With the current ASUCD budget, the managers won’t be able to get paid for either of the summer terms, which means that the Pantry most likely will not be able to run,” Kurtz said. “This is an issue because the Pantry is a huge resource for students to be able to have food and the managers are really who make this happen”

After hearing the budget concerns from the individuals representing ASUCD units, the senators heard Aggie Reuse’s quarterly report. Victoria Mattsson, a third-year environmental science and management major and the unit director for Aggie Reuse, gave the brief  presentation via Zoom in which she described the the store and updated the Senate on its operations.

“For those of you who don’t know, Aggie Reuse was known as the on-campus thrift store, but recently this whole year it has been functioning as a mutual-aid model where all of the items in our store are free for students and non-students,” Mattsson said. “Everything in our inventory is donated to us by community members and students. Most of our expenses and most of our budget really just goes to paying seven of us and our normal expenses are very low. It really runs beautifully, and I’d like to thank you all for supporting it.” 

Following the presentation, the senate entered a 30-minute break and resumed the meeting again at 9:10 p.m. Senator Stephen Fujimoto presented the president pro tem quarterly report in which he outlined an extensive list of duties to the Senate table. 

In response to Fujimoto’s presentation, TSR Logan Ueno suggested that Fujimoto receive extra help from other senators or volunteers. 

“That list is like 15+ things to do and you are only allocated a certain number of hours,” Ueno said.  “I think that’s a lot, that’s too much for someone to do on top of being a student. People say during public comment that we should prioritize being a student and that rings true here. Yes, we are elected officials but we have to remind ourselves that we are students too and we don’t want our academics to slip.” 

Next, the Senate heard the quarterly report from the Whole Earth Festival (WEF). Senator Zeki Xu, a fourth-year design major and publicity director for WEF, gave the report, which focused on the successes of the event and the large turnout for volunteers.   

The Senate moved into brief officer reports and then began with the status of previous legislation. SR #6, SB #102 and SB #105 all passed.  

Next, the Senate discussed new legislation. Vice President Eden read the summary of SR #7 and assigned it to External Affairs Comission and The Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission. 

“This is a resolution to support the mission of National Gun Violence Awareness Day on the first Friday in June to honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence, and to declare that we, as a country, must do more to end this public health crisis,” Eden said. 

CA #85, SR #9, SB #115 and SB #116 were also introduced. 

Next, the consent calendar passed unanimously. 

The table then moved into “budget amendment” which was added to the agenda prior to the meeting. However, budget amendments were unable to be made after the hearings on May 20-21. 

“This was on the agenda originally, because I thought we could actually do it, but we can’t,” Eden said. “We can’t bend the budget in this meeting. The bylaws outline a pretty detailed and lengthy procedure for how the Senate can amend the budget.” 

After this, Eden adjourned the meeting at 11:28 p.m.