Thursday, December 12

USAC changes bylaws

What’s USAC?
Tuesday’s USAC meeting started a bit later than usual after councilmembers attended a cordial meet-and-greet with Chancellor Norman Abrams earlier that evening.
Councilmembers trickled into the jam-packed meeting room filled with presenters from CALPIRG, the Student Initiated Access Committee, the Community Service Record Committee, and many others who were waiting to share their upcoming projects with the council.
Matthew Bukirin, chairman of the Student Initiated Access Committee, after a course of rather lengthy introductions of his thirteen student representatives who were lined up against the wall, asked councilmembers for their help in attaining greater visibility on campus. SIAC members tutor, hold academic and cultural workshops, and do peer advising for at-risk high school students in Los Angeles. The presenters said one of their main concerns was lack of funding, which could seriously limit their capabilities to create access to higher education.
Presenters from CALPIRG, a statewide public interest organization funded and run by students, gave an update on the success of their Hunger Conference and their work with the Campus Climate Challenge this past quarter. Next quarter, CALPIRG plans to coordinate a Hunger Clean-up event in which students are sponsored to volunteer to raise money for Darfur.
Community Service Commissioner Farheen Malik spoke about launching the Community Service Record on My UCLA in May. The Community Service Record is a new uniform method of recording service hours that UCLA students earn through clubs on campus. Malik said she believes the record will provide validation and certifiable recognition for the hours put in by students and will look rather snazzy when presented to graduate schools or employers.
Lastly the Cultural Affairs Commission made a presentation complete with their new shirt design and logo. They also had pins as part of an effort to get their name out, and let people know they exist, the presenters explained.
Two hours later the presentations finally ended, and council approved three bylaw changes.
First, council changed the duties of the Academic Affairs Commissioner to include programming for first-year and transfer students. Academic Affairs Commissioner Nat Schuster explained that these were not meant to limit, only make sure the uses were covered.
Second, honorariums, which are speaker fees, may now not be given to UC students, faculty or staff, or any former recipient of a stipend paid by student fees over the last four years.
Schuster said he hopes this change will stop honorarium abuses, though he did not specify what those abuses were.
Finally, in an attempt to speed up its meetings, council made it mandatory for councilmembers to submit a summary of a topic they want to add to the agenda. They said meetings will likely proceed more rapidly if councilmembers have some idea of what they are talking about in advance.
But there was a brief debate on whether the new rule would keep topics from being added to the agenda. Rick Tuttle, an administrative representative, said he could see five years from now councilmembers trying to keep things from being put in the agendas as a result of the rule. Still, the motion was unanimously approved.
There were also two revisions to the Elections Code, which had been discussed before and were approved quickly.
The Elections Board will now put out a voter guide, and councilmembers will be required to inform the Elections Board chair when they want to change the Election Code. The Elections Board chair will then decide whether she wants to submit the suggested changes to council for approval.
Sandybeth Carrillo, E-Board chairwoman and a former Daily Bruin staff member, said she approved of the changes.
But there was some confusion over one clause stipulating that in order to avoid conflicts of interest, council’s recent E-Code revisions should not be implemented till the next academic year.
Council voted 8-0 to delete the clause, with four members abstaining.
At least two councilmembers said they abstained because they felt the clause was confusing and contradictory.

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