The President of ASUCD presented the state of the Association and the Senate of ASUCD adopted seven pieces of legislation, three of which declared non-confidence in the members of ASUCD and COSAF.
By GABY SAINZ-MEDINA – [email protected]
The Senate session was opened at 6:12 p.m. by Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Kabir Sahni. Senate Secretary Sanaaz Nourkhaladj spoke and then Vice President Juliana Martinez Hernandez recited the Land Recognition.
President Ryan Manriquez opened the meeting by presenting the state of the Association. He acknowledged the difficulties of transitioning to online services during the pandemic and the return in person this year.
Additionally, Manriquez noted declining student engagement in the election and staffing shortages in ASUCD units such as CoHo this year, along with solutions to these issues. Manriquez also mentioned fees such as Student Activities and Services Initiative (SASI) and Campus Expansion Initiative (CEI) which are used to fund intercollegiate athletics.
“On these topics and on each one that our student body faces, I will work tirelessly to accomplish the will of the students,” said Manriquez.
The Senate then called for a recess and the session was called to order at 6:40 p.m.
The Special Committee on Electoral Reform then presented a quarterly report. Internal Affairs Committee (IAC) Chairperson Radhika Gawde presented the committee’s goal of improving voter turnout and evaluating the previous electoral cycle. She also touched on various issues the committee grappled with, including public awareness, and announced her resignation as chair for when she enlists as a senator.
The chairman of the Sexual Assault Advocacy and Advocacy Committee (SAAAC), Isaac Ocampo, continued. The committee sought to expand and gain more members to help on the projects. Its main objective is to work on the prevention of sexual assault and its members are starting to sensitize organizations of Greek life.
Vice President of External Affairs (EAVP) Shruti Adusumilli explained how her office is now fully staffed and working to reestablish LobbyCorps which focuses on affordability of college and university attendance. Other projects include Racial Justice Now (RJN), a memorial to the pepper spray incident, and UCWeVote, which would make polling day non-educational.
Environmental Policy and Planning Committee (EPPC) Chairman Sydney Cliff then presented. She said the committee is currently working on projects including recycling styrofoam, ASUCD’s transition to a paperless office, and organizing textile recycling.
Ashley Chan, Chair of the Commission on Gender and Sexuality (GASC), provided a quarterly report. The commission has so far met its hiring goals and is preparing to work on events that would take place at the Winter Quarter. Some of these events include an activism week, a networking event, an open mic night, and a pride festival in June.
Gawde spoke on behalf of the commission and discussed the role of the IAC. The commission is fully staffed and its current plans include supporting the Special Committee on Election Reform.
The last commission to present was the Commission for Ethnic and Cultural Affairs (CEAC). President Jared Lopez explained that the commission is currently understaffed and is accepting new members. He also contributes to the oversight of the Dream Commission and the Aggie Housing Advocacy Committee.
The Senate meeting then moved to public announcements, where Senators discussed upcoming events.
Research and Data Committee Chairman Stephen Fujimoto, in attendance as a member of the public, announced the launch of surveys that are sent out on behalf of the committee and encouraged students to complete them.
Additionally, a member of the public encouraged students to attend a Social Services Commission meeting to encourage the city to create more affordable housing for students.
A public discussion followed the announcements, and Senator Owen Krauss spoke of the Senate’s concerns over ASUCD Commercial Director Greg Ortiz and Creative Media Director Alex Park.
Krauss said the Senate invited Ortiz and Park to a closed-door session where they could discuss their behavior in private, but the two declined to attend.
Several members of the Senate described their experience working with Ortiz and Park.
“I went into Alex’s office with one specific person, and he said, and I quote, ‘Oh my god you’ve lost so much weight,’” Sahni said. “Alex has since made other inappropriate comments.”
Martinez Hernandez also shared his interactions with Ortiz.
“I find it very uncomfortable to work with these people, especially the commercial director,” said Martinez Hernandez. “I saw him berating a senator. I have become the recipient of a bunch of insults that I don’t think I deserve.
The Chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs, Gabriela Tsudik, then shifted the public discussion in another direction, announcing that the meeting of the Committee on Academic Affairs with the Academic Senate would take place the next day, November 19. A break was then requested.
The meeting returned to order at 9:22 p.m. and began with the reports of elected officials where each member of the Senate recounted what he had done the previous week.
As a result of these reports, members of the Senate began to assess the bills, all of which were unanimously considered emergency laws.
SR # 14 proposed to proclaim November as Sikh Heritage Month at UC Davis. The Senate viewed the resolution as an emergency as it was due to pass before the end of the month. The resolution was adopted unanimously.
SR # 15 was a resolution of not trusting Ortiz in his capacity as commercial director of ASUCD. He lists the Senate’s grievances with Ortiz and says the Senate “no longer recognizes the authority of the business manager” and demands that he make himself “available and accountable to the student body.”
In addition, the resolution states that the Senate will take all appropriate means to diminish Ortiz’s power.
“If we have to act toxic, it’s because this business leader doesn’t treat us with respect, it’s because that’s what we have to do to do something here,” Krauss said. “It is a moral imperative that we vote on this now before it happens again, before it is one of us again.” We must have a united front.
SR # 15 is carried unanimously.
In addition to passing the resolution, several members of the Senate also said they would no longer attend meetings where Park or Ortiz are present in order to avoid feeling unsafe or uncomfortable in their office.
“This is my formal notice, I will no longer attend these weekly executive board management team meetings if they are there. I don’t go to meetings that Greg attends, I just don’t feel comfortable hanging out with someone like that, ”said Tariq Azim, transfer student representative.
SR # 16 was a resolution of No Confidence in Park, in his capacity as director of Creative Media’s ASUCD unit regarding his “deplorable involvement in the student elections and his negligent behavior towards ASUCD members”.
“Alex Park has been pushing some really biased and horrific accounts to people in the administration about what happened in the election,” Gawde said. “It puts a lot of people at risk, so I think we need to take whatever steps are appropriate to make sure we respond to it. “
SR # 16 was carried unanimously and a pause was requested following the vote.
The meeting returned to order at 12:04 a.m.
Sahni introduced SR # 12, a resolution of no confidence in the Student Affairs and Tuition Fees Council (COSAF). It was adopted unanimously with all the committees present at the meeting recommending its adoption.
The resolution calls for “to condemn the actions and inactions of the Council for Student Affairs and Tuition Fees (COSAF), its internal practices, its systemic failures to promote transparency, the opacity of its hiring procedures; and to seek concrete and immediate reforms of COSAF to repair this damage by declaring no confidence in COSAF as an institutional body ”, as stated in the resolution.
Senators recalled a form sent out following a COSAF meeting earlier this quarter that explained how students should ask questions of the board. The form contained suggestions for students to follow when addressing the council.
“One of the points was ‘silence is golden’,” Senator Maahum Shahab said. “We’re here to ask the tough questions on behalf of the students, so let the questions be direct. There is nothing wrong with being blunt.
SR # 12 is carried unanimously.
ECAC introduced SR # 13, urging “UC Davis Leadership to Acknowledge the Pepper Spray Incident of November 18, 2011 and to commit to re-evaluating the University’s response to disruption by prioritizing student safety. As indicated in the resolution.
The resolution was adopted unanimously.
SB # 26 “Allocated $ 1,800.00 to compensate the IAC Vice President of Regulation and Finance as a paid position” as stated in the bill. The bill was passed unanimously.
SB # 27 plans to “allocate $ 2,700.00 to the salaries of all ASUCD committee chairs” for the following winter term.
The Senate was then called behind closed doors.
Ortiz and Park did not respond to The California Aggie’s request for comment on November 22.
Written by: Gaby Sainz-Medina – [email protected]
Note: This article was updated on December 1.