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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New President Pro Tempore elected after impeachment of ASUCD President and Internal Vice President

Senator Binh Do was elected as the president pro tempore and Internal Vice President Aarushi Raghunathan addressed her impeachment resolution 

 

By KAYA DO-KHANH — campus@theaggie.org

 

On Thursday, Dec. 7, at 6:21 p.m., Vice President Aarushi Raghunathan called the Senate meeting to order and recited the UC Davis Land Acknowledgement. 

The Senate table then listened to farewell addresses by Senators Gaius Ilupeju, JT Eden, Erek Leschyn and Zahar King. The addresses included advice, words of admiration for those at the table and other reflections on their time serving on the Senate table. 

The senate then moved into the seating of new officers. Jonathan Ng, Leah Jung, Yara Kaadan, Katia Bouali, Jacob Klein and Curtis Chen were all seated. 

After a closed session was held on Wednesday, Dec. 6, the Senate unanimously voted to pass two resolutions for the impeachment of both President Francisco Ojeda and Internal Vice President (IVP) Aarushi Raghunathan. 

Following the impeachment resolutions of the previous session, Senator Binh Do and Senator Dani Antonio were nominated separately for President Pro Tempore. Senator Do was then elected as the President Pro Tempore by a vote of 8-5-1.  

After a quick break, the Judicial Council gave its quarterly report. They went over updates, such as the addition of a new chair, and recent accomplishments, such as their weekly meetings with public discussion and the release of memos on SB #2 and SB #22. 

This quarter, the council experienced challenges in terms of communication and relations, with an example being communication on budget hearings. Its goals for winter quarter are to increase its social media presence and to hire two more Justices for the Judicial Council after fall quarter. 

Next, the Student Health and Wellness Committee’s (SHAWC) quarterly report was given by Chairperson Julia Miller. She touched on the committee’s recent collaborations, including a monthly Instagram series focused on mental health with Senator Trinity Chow. One of their ongoing projects is doing well, with the Safer Sex Product Dispensers that they put in at the Memorial Union being almost completely empty every two weeks. 

Miller also expressed concerns with budget limitations, where she gets paid for five hours a week but works an average of 20 hours. Additionally, the committee’s goals for winter quarter include education with UC Davis Panhellenic about sexual assault awareness. 

The Pantry then gave its quarterly report and talked about its goals such as increasing food services and connecting with hygiene product vendors. Some accomplishments from the quarter include The Pantry’s Menstrual Equity event in which volunteers were able to provide consistent menstrual products, the Mobile Pantry which is running two times a week and is more accessible for students with disabilities and the re-launch of the Spice Program which allows for students to get a variety of spices for free. 

The Sexual Assault Awareness Advocacy Committee gave their quarterly report next. This quarter, they had many collaborations such as working with Students Demand Action and Empower Yolo on a drive to provide supplies for survivors of domestic violence. The committee also worked with the fire department, specifically Health 34, to collaborate for Sexual Assault Awareness Month as well as further support their Narcan distribution. Their winter goals include increasing their membership as they currently have only four members total.

The Campus Center for the Environment followed with its quarterly report. The team purchased a storage container where they are able to store many of their tools, as well as a chicken coop, a purchase they have been waiting to make since 2019. Aiming to capture the attention of more students, they also painted their logo on their trailer. 

Next, the meeting moved into public comments. 

“I find that the ASUCD Senate has violated its own bylaws that are set to govern themselves when they congregate either in the Executive Office with the door closed, the TSR/ISR Office or the commissions/committees room,” an anonymous speaker said. 

“You can have group chats, you can talk to other senators about this, just don’t talk about legislation,” Senator Nur Ambaw said next. “It’s making it seem like we can’t be friends on the table, but we can be friends. You can have group chats, we can talk about everything else, but when it comes to legislation, as long as it’s not the majority […] read the bylaws and make sure you aren’t in violation of them.” 

Another public comment was from second-year political science major Zeph Schnelbach, who brought up the performative aspect of the ASUCD Senate reciting the Land Acknowledgement without active support for Native American and Indigenous peoples. Schnelbach proposed training for the senators and called for more representation for such groups. 

The Aggie Mentors Committees, the Office of the International Student Representative, the Office of External Affairs Vice President, Internal Affairs Commission and the Gender and Sexuality Commission also gave their quarterly reports. 

Next, the Senate went into the consideration of old legislation. 

SB #31, which supports unregistered student groups by providing assistance and legitimation through the Affiliated Student Organization (ASO) program, passed unanimously. 

SB #35, which reallocates the Aggie Housing Advocacy Committee from the oversight of the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission, under the oversight of the External Affairs Commission, passed unanimously. 

SB #38, which formally dissolves the ASUCD Committee on Engagement Initiatives, passed unanimously. 

SR #5, which aims to state the overarching goals and priorities of the ASUCD Senate for the 2023-2024 academic year, passed unanimously.

SR #6, which calls on the City of Davis and campus administration to take initiative regarding on and off-campus lighting, sparked debate on the table over getting the resolution passed versus having meetings with the university on the topic instead. It passed with amendments to remove any mention of campus. 

SR #7, which supports the UC Student Association’s Racial Justice Now campaign for academic reparations and the establishment of a permanent $1 billion endowment fund to improve Afrikan UC Student Access, retention and graduation rates passed unanimously

The Senate table approved past meeting minutes and went into an open forum in which Raghunathan addressed her impeachment resolution. 

“There is no other person on this table that has had their average word count counted out for them, and that has never been a reason to impeach someone,” Raghunathan said. “That’s ridiculous. Did you want every detail of every single thing I do all day? That would be insane, and this week I gave you every single detail […] I just feel like as a woman of color in this position it’s already so hard to hold. You’re holding me to an insane standard that’s unachievable by any means by anyone. They’re not even viable standards, they’re not things that are actually in the rules — half of this is made up. Some of this says things like ‘whereas Aarushi is part of the executive branch, and the branch is not performing well.’ I am not the entire branch, I am one part of the branch, there are so many others on this table that are a part of that branch.”

Raghunathan also brought up her contributions to the Senate table environment for her term. 

“Two years ago, this table was so toxic. Everyone hated each other and everyone was fighting all the time. […] Right now, do you guys see how well you get along even with everything going around in the world in the entire social climate? You guys are still working together so well, and that did not happen two years ago and it’s happening now. I know you might think that I might not have an impact on that, but I’m telling you, the way I have handled and managed and presided over you is a core part of how you’re working so healthily together. […] You can’t say that I’m not doing my job or that my personal life means that I shouldn’t be able to do this — that’s ableist, that’s misogynistic. I do my job perfectly fucking fine. This entire resolution is petty.”

Do adjourned the meeting at 2:24 a.m. 

 

Written by: Kaya Do-Khanh — campus@theaggie.org

 

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