Saturday, August 24

USAC sees some goals achieved, others unfulfilled


As the new quarter begins, members of the undergraduate student
government now have four months left in their terms to prove their
constituents made the right decision in electing them to
office.

Executive officers and general representatives of the
Undergraduate Students Association Council have the responsibility
of speaking for the student body and making sure their voices are
heard.

President Anica McKesey believes she represents students when
attending meetings with administrators and members of the
university governing councils, and through speaking at various
events.

McKesey added that representation is also evident at the weekly
council meetings, and said she works on the students’ behalf
when passing different resolutions.

In the fall quarter, along with the resolutions that passed,
several were postponed indefinitely including a resolution
supporting the UCLA Dance Marathon.

Discussion to amend current USAC bylaws on student groups
funding was also tabled on Oct. 21, 2003. According to a 1999
Supreme Court ruling, student groups cannot allocate funds based on
a group’s viewpoint. Current USAC bylaws only allow funding
to groups registered with the Center for Student Programming that
are not politically or religiously based.

General Representative Josh Lawson was the council’s
biggest proponent of changing the bylaws.

Though Lawson said his greatest accomplishment has been
fulfilling his campaign promises and keeping USAC in check, several
of his campaign goals are shy of being achieved. Such goals include
improving the USAC Web site and the student access television. The
latter is expected to premiere sometime this quarter.

The collective effort to defeat Proposition 54 was a big
accomplishment for several councilmembers. If passed on the Oct. 7,
2003 ballot, the measure would have banned the state from
collecting most race-based data.

General Representative Linda Lam worked on the campaign to
galvanize student opposition against Proposition 54, and said she
feels the campaign was a great achievement for her office.

“We got to work with student organizations to get greater
student involvement,” Lam said.

External Vice President Matt Kaczmarek believes Proposition 54
was both an accomplishment as well as a drawback.

Kaczmarek said defeating the measure was a great accomplishment
but believes it slowed down production in his office.

“Usually, October, November and December are months where
we develop staff and formalize campaigns, but that got pushed
back,” Kaczmarek said.

As the EVP, Kaczmarek represents UCLA students by attending
regents meetings and lobbying for students in the state assembly
and Congress. His role as the EVP requires he attend various
conferences across the country, cutting into the time he spends
working on campus.

Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kelly Wynn, one of the seven
councilmembers who do not directly represent the student body, said
her greatest accomplishment was the development of her staff.

Wynn said her commission accomplished much last quarter with the
Welcome Week concert, diversity forums, and the “No on Prop
54″ campaign. Wynn added that she has worked hard to expand
her office through collaboration with several student groups and
other campus entities, which was one of her campaign goals.

But Wynn’s goal of creating a student talent showcase has
not yet been realized. Wynn plans to hold the showcase sometime
this quarter.

Some councilmembers have had trouble following through on their
campaign goals.

General Representative Nelson Saldaña said many of his
goals have not been accomplished because of time constraints
resulting from his 19 unit courseload last quarter.

But Saldaña believes he still represents the student body
through his presence at the weekly council meetings and voting on
resolutions.

Saldaña has worked on some goals, such as coordinating an
organization day on campus. But other goals, such as promoting
student leadership and increasing diversity in student
organizations, have yet to be fulfilled.

Internal Vice President Allende Palma/Saracho said his greatest
accomplishment is the student advocacy collective. The collective
brings different student groups on campus together to collaborate
on ideas and different events.

The internal vice president’s office is responsible for
compiling the agenda for the weekly council meetings, and
Palma/Saracho said that such administrative duties could have been
done in a more efficient manner.

Last quarter, several resolutions were postponed despite their
presence on the agenda because of various factors, such as not
having the resolutions written on time.

But Palma/Saracho believes his office as well as council as a
whole has done a good job so far.

“We had a lot of co-programming . … I feel a lot of
solidarity on this council,” he said.

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