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USAC recap – Nov. 19

By Samantha Fredberg

Nov. 24, 2019 5:29 p.m.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council is the official student government representing the undergraduate student body at UCLA. Council meetings take place every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Bruin Viewpoint Room and are open to all students. Watch a livestream of the meetings on the USAC Live! channel on YouTube.

Public Comment:

  • Sithara Menon, chair of the UCLA chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group, announced that the group will continue their campaign to stop the use of single-use plastics during winter quarter. The group is currently running a “Zero Hunger” campaign to help UCLA students who face food insecurity. The group held a roundtable discussion Thursday to discuss food insecurity.

  • Fourth-year human biology and society student Aneri Suthar, said Dignity Health is a Catholic chain of hospitals that does not practice abortion, even in cases of sexual assault which result in pregnancy, or promote contraceptive practices. Dignity Health plans to partner with University of California hospitals. Suthar is attempting to get 2,000 signatures on a petition started by the American Civil Liberties Union to stop the partnership between UC and Dignity Health. Suthar said she thinks UCLA claims to champion reproductive rights so it should not partner with Dignity Health.

Special Presentations:

  • Akash Kapoor, president of the Student Health Advisory Committee and a third-year student, introduced the committee’s work to the council. SHAC is in charge of maintaining student wellness on campus by collaborating with the Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center and giving them a student perspective. Kapoor asked for advice from the council regarding student outreach and switching SHAC’s stipend from the Ashe Center to USAC, since SHAC is a student-run group.

Agenda:

  • The council allocated a total of $16,965.13 from contingency programming funds to USAC and non-USAC groups.

  • Supplemental Fund for Service allocated a total of $2,031.78 to USAC and non-USAC groups.

  • Student Wellness Commission Programming Fund allocated a total of $853 to non-USAC groups.

  • Academic Success Referendum Fund allocated a total of $955.24 to USAC.

  • The Academic Affairs Commission Travel Mini Grant Fund allocated a total of $2,751.55.

  • The council approved drafts of emails to be sent to the Student Initiated Outreach Center and Campus Retention Committee, requesting that they send representatives to USAC meetings on Jan. 7 and Jan. 14 respectively to present their budget reports. Their budget allocations are not posted elsewhere online.

  • The council also approved a draft of an email to be sent to the Basic Needs Committee requesting that they submit their minutes, agenda and allocations to the council.

  • The council discussed the Office Space Allocation Committee and disagreements between clubs over crowded shared spaces. Facilities Commissioner Lily Shaw said that she thinks OSAC should not be within USAC’s domain. There is currently no OSAC chair to speak to about the issue. The council decided that International Student Representative Shahamah Tariq will reach out to the student groups individually to sort out the issue.

  • The council will allocate $150,000 of its surplus into the contingency fund and will distribute $129,000 back into USAC. Entities, committees and offices under USAC can submit proposals to be considered. This is different from last year’s surplus decisions, where the surplus was open to student organizations as well.

  • The council appointed Kayla Rafanan, a first-year premicrobiology, immunology & molecular genetics student, as Associated Students UCLA Board of Directors vice-chair.

  • The Judicial Board previously ruled that general representative elect Orion Smedley, a third-year physics student, would be sworn in following an investigation into his campaign. Board Chair Jamail Gibbs said that since Smedley has no prior USAC experience, and was provided inaccurate information, he would not be penalized or sanctioned.

  • The judicial board chair swore in Brandon Broukhim, a third-year history and public affairs student, and Smedley as general representatives.

Reports:

  • President Robert Watson said his office sent emails to the John Wooden Center Board of Governors and Student Activities Center Board of Governors requesting their meeting minutes and allocation records, but has received no response so far.

  • Internal Vice President Kimberly Bonifacio said her office is working on improving study halls for finals.

  • External Vice President Johana Guerra Martinez said her office will host a conference for students of color from Nov. 22 to Nov. 24. She added that she and her office supported the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299’s strike on Nov. 13, and will continue to show solidarity with the union.

  • Smedley said he is excited to join the council and is looking forward to working with other offices.

  • Broukhim said his office has completed most of its hiring and is looking forward to collaboration across the council.

  • Shaw said her office began the course reader recycling program in which students drop-off their readers and are entered in a raffle. Next quarter, the program will be run by the ASUCLA bookstore. She added her office is in the final phases of providing reusable mugs in Kerckhoff Coffee House, which will be available winter quarter.

  • Transfer Representative Isabel Carmen Oraha said her office met with the University of California Student Association Transfer Coalition for the first time. She added that she thinks compared to UCLA, other UCs do not provide as much support to their transfer students.

  • Community Service Commissioner Jonathan Wisner said his office will soon be releasing the application for the annual Impact Conference, the largest collegiate civic engagement conference in the nation. The conference includes a free trip to Las Vegas, he added.

  • Academic Affairs Commissioner Naomi Riley said her office submitted survey data about study spaces to UCLA Housing. She added that they hope to launch a Covel Dining Hall study space by finals week. She also said the survey showed that students are enthusiastic about having a new space to study.

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Samantha Fredberg
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