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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Budget hearings, spending bills discussed in April 4 Senate meeting

The Senate allocated money to HackDavis, as well as to the upcoming ASUCD Cultural Festival


BY SONORA SLATER — campus@theaggie.org


“I will be requesting money in the future,” Senator Nur Ambaw said. “And I hope the things you have to say against it are reasonable.”

He was speaking out after criticism against SB #50 during the previous meeting, a bill that he drafted but ultimately withdrew that would allocate money to purchase athletic gear for the MU. This was only one of a variety of budget-related discussions at the April 4 ASUCD Senate meeting as the table gears up for budget hearings in early May. 

The meeting was called to order at 6:19 p.m. by Internal Vice President Aarushi Raghunathan. After calling roll and reading the UC Davis Land Acknowledgement, the Senate moved into President Pro Tempore elections for the spring quarter.

Senator Trinity Chow was the only nominee, and it was noted that she has both “a willingness to take on extra responsibility” and the ability to “help facilitate mature conversations.”  

She was unanimously selected and accepted the position, saying that she plans to help them become “a more cohesive table,” and to successfully represent units and commissions in the upcoming budget hearings. 

Next, Recruitment and Retention Organizing Committee External Chair Ashley Perez Caron gave a quarterly report for the Student Recruitment and Retention Center. 

“Who has been to the SRRC, raise your hand?” Caron began. When several people raised their hands, she tacked on, “Omg, slayyy.”

She then proceeded to give the Senate table a background on the history of the organization, and what they’re up to now. According to Caron, the program focuses on getting people into higher education, and keeping them there — especially underrepresented groups. One of the ways they do this is through hosting “nontraditional” campus tours for prospective students.

“For most of these students, college is romanticized for them, so they may not realize they’re also going to struggle,” Caron said. “[In these tours], it’s more than, ‘Hey y’all, come to UC Davis, we’ve got good coffee.’ We talk about the challenges and struggles, and try and make sure the youth are being told the truth because they deserve to be.”

In terms of future goals, she highlighted the grant funding they continue to provide RSOs in order to support building cultural communities, and a fellowship that they’re planning to create for students. 

After unit adoptions, during which Senators chose units and commissions that they wanted to focus on supporting this quarter, the table moved into public comment. 

Senator Leah Jung noted that certain bathrooms across campus have started charging a quarter for pads and tampons, and said that they should continue to be free for everyone.  

At 7:30, Raghunathan called a break for dinner (pizza and Insomnia cookies). They reconvened at 7:47 p.m. and moved into discussing legislation.

All legislation passed in the previous meeting was signed by the president. New legislation included SB #72, which would reform quarterly reports, SB #73, which would give the Senate Table the ability to move Senate Meetings online and SB #74, which would establish an earlier deadline to notify parties mentioned in ASUCD Senate Bills, Senate Resolutions, and Ballot Measures. All three were assigned to the IAC for review. 

Next, old legislation was voted on. SB #75, which allocates $7,313.50 to HackDavis to cover meals for students attending and makes ASUCD a sponsor for the HackDavis 2024 event, passed with nine yeses and five abstaining, with the goal of serving as an advertisement for ASUCD, especially for more STEM focused students.

SB #76, which allocates $253.00 to the Office of Senator Chow for the ASUCD Cultural Festival on April 15, passed with 10 yeses and four abstaining

Finally, the table moved into open forum. Raghunathan requested that senators ensure they are informing her beforehand when they are going to be late to or absent from a meeting.

“I get that it’s more relaxed here, but it’s still your job,” Raghunathan said. “I see on your timesheets that you’re saying you were here the whole meeting and you just weren’t. So I’m going to start being stricter about that.”

Controller Allyson Francisco reminded the table about upcoming budget hearings in early May, sharing tentative time frames for the table and encouraging them to take the process seriously.

“You’re mandated to be here, and if you’re not ,there are consequences,” Francisco said. “This is why we had all these problems last year, is because people weren’t dedicated. And now we’re searching for money and wondering what happened. What happened is people weren’t really invested. So I’m asking people to come prepared.

She noted that there will be breaks, and if members of the Senate table have class, that is a reasonable excuse for absence. She also encouraged the Senate to talk to unit directors and commissioners before the budget hearings to make sure they have an understanding of how to best advocate for their needs.

Ambaw, in response to the spending bills that were passed, brought up his proposed spending bill to purchase athletic equipment for the MU, which he later withdrew. 

“No shade, but [my bill] was big on visibility,” Ambaw said. “We passed [the HackDavis bill] today on the bounds of visibility. My bill needed work, and I totally agree with that, but I will be requesting money [for bills] in the future and I hope the things you have to say against them are reasonable.”

After approving past meeting minutes, Raghunathan adjourned the meeting at 8:23 p.m. 


By Sonora Slater — campus@theaggie.org


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