Sunday, January 19

USAC identifies key issues

What’s USAC?
Tuesday night’s USAC meeting had the largest public turnout I’ve seen since council discussed the Taser incident in November. But these students were not from UCLA — they were from KAIST, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, here to watch a UCLA student government meeting.
“We came here to learn, to see how the meeting goes “¦ and exchange information,” said Mijin Nicole Lee, Korean visitor.
The meeting began with a presentation from a UCLA student group.
Tanzib Hossain and Jonathan Pham spoke about updates to the Student Health Advocate (SHA) program, which was scheduled to be discontinued after this year. Hossain and Pham, along with others, plans to make the SHA program a student-run organization.
They plan on extending hours of service and saving money by having no paid advisor. They stated the project cost would be around $28,000 for next year, which includes supplies and a clinical preceptor.
Then began the main discussion of the meeting – a debate about keys to the doors in Kerckhoff. $20,000 worth of locks and keys to be exact.
The problem with the doors now is that if someone loses a key, or keys go missing, the lock must be changed and the door re-keyed. Jerry Mann, Associated Students UCLA student union director, said this can cost $3,000 to $5,000 a year. In addition, things have been stolen out of several offices over the past year or so.
The new keycard locks, like the ones in the residence halls, would allow any keycard to be voided and new ones to be made easily. Plus, building supervisors would be able to see who had entered a room. But cost could be a problem ““ the price of the keys has shot up thousands of dollars since original estimates were made at the beginning of the year. The total cost, including the price of keys, locks and installation, is now expected to run about $20,000.
“I am shocked at how expensive it is and how the price accelerated on us,” Mann said.
Tina Park, the external vice president, said in spring there were a lot of big programs coming up that could use the money more. She said she would voluntarily take her office off of the new lock list to save students money. Shaun Doria, the financial supports commissioner, quickly said he would not accept that, followed by nervous laughs from the council.
Finally, after much deliberation, council voted, but ended up with a tie. The vote, predictably, fell along slate lines, with Students First! councilmembers voting against re-keying and Bruins United councilmembers voting for it. Independent councilmembers were split. President Marwa Kaisey, a Bruins United member, broke the tie with a pro vote.
Later in the meeting council discussed a minor change to bylaws governing funding allocation. Park said she wanted the Constitutional Review Committee to read proposed changes, prompting some councilmembers to accuse her of stalling.
Academic Affairs Commissioner Nat Schuster said the changes were just semantics. Park replied, “In my personal experience, semantics make all the difference.”
But Schuster said Park’s suggestion was just “a ridiculous stalling tactic,” an allegation echoed more pointedly by Doria.
“The (external vice president’s) words are completely ridiculous,” Doria said.
In the end, council voted overwhelmingly to approve the bylaw changes.
Finally showing some much needed solidarity, council also voted unanimously to approve a resolution condemning proposed fee increases in the governor’s budget.

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