Monday, September 16

USAC resolution amends UCSA bylaws on nonprofit status, proxy voting


The undergraduate student government unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday to state the University of California Student Association’s nonprofit status in its bylaws and allow board members to vote by proxy.

The resolution amends the UCSA charter, in line with bylaw changes made by other UC schools. Members of UCSA, an organization that advocates for UC students, voted to submit the proposed edits to each campus’ student government during its Board of Directors meeting in August.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council has been a member of UCSA since the organization’s inception in the late 1960s. Conrad Contreras, USAC external vice president, said he authored the resolution so UCSA can implement the changes at a systemwide level.

The council passed the resolution within a few minutes of it being read aloud.

“It is an uncontroversial resolution,” Contreras said at the meeting.

The resolution will change the association’s voting policies if a member’s external vice president cannot attend a meeting to allow a designated proxy to vote in his or her place. Originally, the bylaws prohibited proxy voting.

In recent years, however, a campus’s organizing director or legislative liaison submitted proxy votes for an external vice president if he or she could not attend, said Kevin Sabo, UCSA board chair.

“We are trying to put the practice of what we do in meetings into the bylaws,” he said.

Sabo said that he thinks the changes in proxy voting will not affect external vice president attendance at board meetings because students rarely vote by proxy.

The resolution includes an amendment to UCSA bylaws to prohibit changes that would jeopardize the organization’s nonprofit status.

The resolution also defines UCSA as a nonprofit in its bylaws. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, UCSA receives federal tax exemptions and can engage in some advocacy efforts, but can lose its tax-exempt status if it focuses its efforts to advance legislative actions such as bills, resolutions or acts.

Sabo said he thinks board members want to make sure UCSA’s lobbying and advocacy work follows IRS tax codes to keep its 501(c)(3) status.

For UCSA to ratify changes to the bylaws, two-thirds of the member student governments must approve the new language and additions.

Contreras said the undergraduate student governments at UC Merced, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UC Riverside approved similar resolutions earlier this fall, along with the graduate student governing bodies at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and UC Merced.

After USAC’s decision Tuesday, UCSA now has the two-thirds vote needed to implement the changes, Contreras said.

UCSA’s next board meeting will take place at the Students of Color Conference at UC Merced from Friday to Sunday.

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