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Councilmember resigns

By Melody Hanatani

Jan. 28, 2004 9:00 p.m.

A general representative of the undergraduate student government
resigned Wednesday, marking the fourth time in four years a member
has left office in the middle of a term.

Nelson Saldaña, one of three general representatives on the
Undergraduate Students Association Council, said the decision was
prompted by his inability to follow through with campaign goals
because of personal matters.

Saldaña said it was the best decision for him and council
as he will not be able to perform to his full capabilities.

The position will be filled by presidential appointment, which
must be made within the next 21 days, according to council

Saldaña struggled through most of his term juggling various
responsibilities, while his USAC duties often took a back seat.

Out of the 13 USAC offices and commissions, Saldaña’s
office had the lowest productivity. His presence was often not felt
during council meetings as he remained silent during most
discussions and refrained from making office announcements.

In addition, the three campaign goals he made during last
spring’s elections were not fulfilled. One of them was to
increase council’s visibility to the student body.

“It’s been a good experience and I don’t
regret running for office. I just wish my capacity would’ve
been better to fulfill promises,” Saldaña said.

But some campaign goals were works in progress.

One his objectives in particular was to promote student
leadership by coordinating an organization day on campus.

Collaborating with Linda Lam, another general representative,
Saldaña developed a proposal to bring the Students of Color
Conference to UCLA, but the team later lost the bid to the
University of California, San Diego.

Community Service Commissioner Justin Schreiber said it was
unfortunate to lose a councilmember and believes Saldaña did a
good job on the council, though the two had never worked closely on
any projects.

Saldaña’s resignation will bring a new face to the
council table.

According to USAC bylaws, a presidential appointment will take
place rather than a special election because the announcement came
after council’s midterm mark of early December. The
application process will be open to the entire undergraduate
student body.

Once a presidential appointment is made, the candidate will be
interviewed by the Appointment Review Committee which will then
give council its recommendations to approve.

“I think there is always a challenge of adding a new
representative when the 12 of us are beginning to understand each
other,” said President Anica McKesey. “To add someone
new halfway through the year will be difficult.”

Councilmembers leaving USAC before fulfilling their term has
become a trend in the past four years.

Last year, Annie McElwain resigned as facilities commissioner,
and in 2002, Kim Coss resigned as financial supports commissioner.
Both left due to personal reasons. In 2000, Portia Pedro had to
step down as external vice president because she failed to meet
eligibility requirements.

Saldaña’s announcement came as a surprise to some
councilmembers who said they saw no indication of a

“I don’t think any of us expected it,” said
Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kelly Wynn.

But other councilmembers, including McKesey and External Vice
President Matt Kaczmarek, said they were aware of the possibility
Saldaña might resign.

“He has not been satisfied with his performance,”
Kaczmarek said. “Nelson mentioned it to me beforehand … but
it was still different hearing it.”

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Melody Hanatani
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