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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Senate hears State of the Association by ASUCD President Francisco Ojeda

In his speech, Ojeda discussed both the challenges and successes from this academic year and announced that he will not be running for re-election

 

By RODRIGO VILLEGAS — campus@theaggie.org 

 

Senator Trinity Chow called the meeting to order at 6:12 p.m. and read the UC Davis Land Acknowledgement to commence the meeting.

The Senate then held several rounds of committee position and member confirmations for the Housing and Transportation Advocacy Committee (HTAC) and the Student Health and Wellness Committee (SHAWC). Each nominee introduced themself and answered various questions from the Senate regarding their respective positions. 

ASUCD President Francisco Ojeda then gave a State of the Association.

Ojeda began his speech by mentioning the impeachment through his presentation’s title slide, where he wrote “By: (STILL) ASUCD President,” and directly addressed it. 

“Thankfully, we were able to get back to work after the annoying and wasteful impeachment,” Ojeda said. “I hope, for the sake of the association and our mental health, we have moved on.”

He proceeded with his speech, where he discussed the new campus-wide accounting system implemented on Jan. 1, which has become a significant issue that has affected the entire association. The new system came with bugs that have caused delays in purchases within its units, and other campus departments are also struggling to understand the new system, according to Ojeda. However, he assured the Senate that the ASUCD HeadQuarters (HQ) office is actively working to better understand the system. 

He continued, highlighting other challenges ASUCD has faced, like finding storage and office space for Aggie Reuse, as well as successes, such as Planet Her, Housing Week and the Entertainment Council (EC)’s recent Brain Freeze concert. Additionally, he previewed events for the spring quarter, like Lawntopia. 

“I hear [the Entertainment Council] is competing with us, since we are holding budget hearings on the same day,” Ojeda said. “I hope they get lucky and have some five students join their concert, while the rest of the 30,000 undergrads hear budget hearings with us.”

He eventually transitioned to discussing ASUCD spring elections, mentioning that he is drafting a mass communication email to be sent on the first day of elections. Furthermore, he stated that he will not be running for re-election. 

Lastly, he ended his speech with one final statement before proceeding to thank everyone for their work. 

“I would like to end by saying that during the impeachment weeks, most of you were fortunate enough to be able to mark those as work hours and get paid for it,” Ojeda said. “Meanwhile, I was tasked with doing my job in addition to the impeachment hearings, with no pay at all. For those who were fortunate enough to receive that money, that’s what I call ‘good business.’”

Since Ojeda had to leave early, the Senate skipped over the questions for him.

Next, the Senate moved into public comments. The first comment criticized the Senate for their disorganization, pointing out their failure to publish the meeting agendas online and to correctly assign meeting minutes to the appropriate folder in Google Drive. 

The second comment advised senators to consider reallocating funds from the Office of the Transfer Student Representative and the Office of the International Student Representative to The Pantry next quarter. 

Afterward, Chow notified the Senate of her plans to introduce bills next quarter that impact how Senate meetings are conducted. 

“They are rough ideas right now,” Chow said. “Essentially, the goal is to make the Senate run smoother, faster, get people home earlier and be more transparent in general.”

The meeting then moved into a break.  

Once the meeting resumed, the Senate moved into the consideration of old legislation. 

The table started with a review of SB #50, a bill that allocates $751.54 to the Office of Senator Nur Ambaw to purchase athletic gear for the Memorial Union. However, Senator Nur Ambaw ultimately chose to withdraw the bill to give himself time to adjust the language of the bill and because he was not present for the meeting. 

Then they transitioned to SB #68, a bill to establish the Planet Her Committee as a committee under the Gender and Sexuality Commission.

Senator Jonathan Ng initiated a long discussion by stating his concern with the bill. 

“I talked to other UCs about how they run festivals like [Planet Her], and they told me that it’s all run through their entertainment board, and they allocate the budget to said entertainment board,” Ng said. “We create committees, then subcommittees and we go on and on. I don’t think that’s the direction we should be heading in when it comes to events.”

After a long discussion surrounding the bill, SB #68 passed. 

The Senate then considered SB #69, a bill to allocate $2,849.66 to the Pride Festival Unit for Drag Brunch, and SB #70, a bill to reform the violation point assessment and issuance process of candidates during ASUCD election, and both bills subsequently passed. 

The meeting then transitioned to a review of written reports before eventually moving to an open forum. During the open forum, a member of the public expressed their disappointment with a particular pastry sold at the CoHo. 

“I’m here to talk about cinnamon rolls,” the member said. “I’m coming to you all, as the big people on campus, to ask if you could transition from the cream cheese icing to something more vanilla-based, for the sake of the community.”

After a quick, lighthearted discussion, the meeting adjourned at 10:35 p.m.

Written by: Rodrigo Villegas — campus@theaggie.org

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