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Friday, May 24, 2024

ASUCD Senate unanimously passes resolution to condemn encampment attack at UCLA

It was also announced that Senator Leah Jung resigned from her position, effective immediately

 

By VINCE BASADA — campus@theaggie.org 

 

Senator Trinity Chow called the May 2 Senate meeting to order at 6:19 p.m. After roll call, she read the UC Davis Land Acknowledgement.

The Senate then heard a series of unit quarterly reports. The Pantry Unit Director Sergio Bocardo-Aguilar, a fourth-year political science major, began and spoke of The Pantry’s recent move, as well as the start of in-house data science collection and analysis.

Following Boardo-Aguilar was Student Health and Wellness Committee Chair Julia Miller, a third-year human development major. The committee only recently became an ASUCD unit, and Miller detailed continued efforts to distribute safe-sex products on campus and a survey on substance use to help the committee better understand how to serve the needs of the student population.

Miller closed by critiquing the Senate and asked them to attend the meetings of their adopted units.

“[It] is your job to overlook the legislative branch,” Miller said. “Please do that.”

Next was the report from the Sexual Assault Awareness and Advocacy Committee (SAAAC) Chair Rashita Chauhan, a fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major. Among other developments, she spoke of SAAAC’s plans to table at Lawntopia and an upcoming event in collaboration with the EDM club. 

Chauhan, after thanking the Senate for increasing SAAAC’s prospective budget for the next academic year, expressed her belief that ASUCD committee members were not being paid for as many hours as they deserved, nor given enough respect.

“[Committees] are strongly underappreciated in this association,” Chauhan said. “Committees are consistent. It’s just different from being a senator.”

Building off of Miller’s points on adopted senators, she expressed her own frustrations with the Senate. She acknowledged that Senator Jacob Klein had made an effort to attend all events but noted that senators often failed to check in with their committee chairs or stay up to date with their events and activities. 

The last quarterly report was from the Student Advocate Office (SAO), delivered by current Student Advocate Travis Haskin, a fourth-year Native American studies and political science double major. He raised concerns over a rise in Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA) cases involving AI, which have resulted in the SAO hiring more staff to compensate.

“[The rise in AI cases is] an alarming indicator for what is happening within the student community,” Haskin said. 

Haskin said that the SAO is hoping to work directly with professors and academic departments to ensure students, who he says are often violating the rules when they use translation engines or grammar checkers, are fully aware of what constitutes academic dishonesty in regards to using AI-supported platforms.

Afterwards, Controller Allyson Francisco announced details on the upcoming budget hearings and owned up to a pair of errors in the prospective budget, which she promised would be rectified. The Senate then took a 30-minute recess.

After the break, the Senate quickly confirmed an External Affairs Commission (EAC) member not in attendance before moving forward two emergency pieces of legislation, SB #88 and SR #8, for consideration. 

SB #86, authorized by ASUCD Historian Kayla Lunde, a third-year environmental policy, analysis and planning major and yearbook managing editor, would establish the managing editor position as a non-voting member of the Internal Affairs Commission.

Lunde joined via Zoom to give insight into the bill, explaining that the legislation would help distinguish her two roles and help to institutionalize the yearbook, which was only revived last year. The bill passed 8-3-2, Yes-No-Abstain.

Next, the Senate discussed emergency resolution SR #8 to “uphold the principles of free speech and expression, and condemn the delayed and insufficient response from campus administration and local law enforcement to protect students from violence on the evening of April 30, 2024 and morning of May 1, 2024 at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

The resolution, co-authored by Senators Jonathan Ng and Binh Do, directly addresses the attack of a pro-Palestianian encampment by pro-Israel counter-protesters who deployed fireworks and caused several injuries, according to reporting from The Daily Bruin.

The Senate spent over an hour looking through the resolution and editing it line by line, with Ng and Do’s acknowledgment that the bill was written quickly and pushed forward in order to address the attacks in a timely fashion.

One proposed amendment clause discussed the attack of a Jewish student which occurred before the encampment attack that evening. Numerous senators expressed concerns that its inclusion and placement at the start of the resolution aligned with a narrative of victim blaming and justification for that night’s encampment.

“I’m very hesitant to add language to this bill that could even imply some justification for this [attack] happening,” Senator Yara Kaadan said. “It was very much racialized”

“When you have two very polarizing movements and things get violent, we have to be very, very particular about how we’re going to phrase this,” Senator Nur Ambaw said. “I’m just not very comfortable with the way it is being phrased right now.”

Senator Klein, who was vocal in either adapting or relocating the clause rather than deleting it altogether, said that the clause was not added with any malice and that it helped establish a chronology of the events.

The amendment was eventually voted on after senators acknowledged that everyone had decided how to vote and was removed.

After looking over final edits and resolving some issues over the sourcing of several pieces of information within the resolution, it was passed unanimously.

During open comment, Senator Chow announced that Senator Leah Jung, who was not present at the meeting, had previously handed in her resignation, effective immediately. Chow expressed the desire that those wishing to resign in the future would give greater notice.

Senator Chow adjourned the meeting at 11:06 p.m.

Written by: Vince Basada — campus@theaggie.org

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