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USAC recap – Dec. 3

By Lauren Chen

December 4, 2019 4:01 pm

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

● Students from MEChA de UCLA, Afro Latinx Connection, and ethnic studies committee expressed their support for AB 331, a bill that would require ethnic studies in California high schools.

● UCPD Lt. Kevin Kilgore encouraged students to reach out for help if they are experiencing difficulties with mental health, especially with the approaching finals week.

● Christopher Elquizabal, an associate director of policy, programming, and evaluation at the UCLA Center for Accessible Education, said there has been an increase in student applications for accommodations – testing accommodations being the most common – which follows national trends. The CAE is currently trying to expand van services and prioritize transportation for some students over others in the upcoming winter and spring quarters.

Special presentations

● Sithara Menon, chair of the UCLA chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group, highlighted its five campaigns this quarter: banning single-use plastics at the UCs, the New Voters Project, protecting bees, a Zero Hunger campaign and affordable textbooks. In addition to these campaigns, they plan on campaigning to ban fracking in California, as well as encouraging voters and activism for the upcoming 2020 elections in the next quarter.

● John Branstetter, a UCLA political science lecturer, asked students to support the University Council-American Federation of Teachers, a union advocating or equal treatment and payment of faculty like lecturers compared to tenured professors.

Agenda

● The council allocated a total of $8,137.80 from contingency funds to USAC and non-USAC groups.

● The council allocated a total of $754.08 from the Academic Affairs Commission travel mini-grant fund.

● The council allocated a total of $1,391.38 from the Academic Success Referendum Fund.

● The council allocated a total of $4,458.62 from the Arts Restoring Community Referendum Funding.

● The council approved a resolution to support AB 331, with minor adjustments.

● The council updated the USAC bylaws regarding the appointment process for the Campus Safety Alliance from an election to an appointment.

Reports

● President Robert Watson said Good Clothes Good People, an organization dedicated to providing clothing, hygiene products and school supplies to students in need, partnered with The 5 Gyres Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on action against plastic pollution, to make an educational video about GCGP. He added that Scantrons and blue books are still free at UCLA stores.

● General Representative 3 Brandon Broukhim said his office has compiled a list of establishments in the Westwood area in order to get discounts on food through an organizational rate. He added that it is currently in the process of searching for the best rates and food.

● Facilities Commissioner Lily Shaw said her office is still collecting course readers for her office’s recycling program, although she added that turnout has been low. She encouraged students with unused course readers to donate them to her office.

● Financial Supports Commissioner Millen Srivastava said applications for the lab coat and goggles loaner program have been extended to Jan. 12 and there are still plenty available. She added that there will be a donut giveaway in the Bruin Plaza on Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. She also said surveys regarding the replacement fees for BruinCards have been released in response to complaints regarding the high replacement costs.

● Campus Events Commissioner Tara Steinmetz said her office would be hosting a showing of the movie “Just Mercy” on Thursday at the James Bridges Theater with the Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment. She added that her office will be inviting local attorney, Nazareth Haysbert, for a discussion regarding the legal system after the movie. The office will also be hosting a screening of “Little Women” on Tuesday at the James Bridges Theater.

● Transfer Student Representative Isabel Carmen Oraha said overnight fees for international students can be waived by talking to the managers of the residence halls.

● Student Wellness Commissioner Mihika Sridhar said the Campus Assault Resources and Education program is currently looking for a new director and there is an opportunity to meet two out of three of the current candidates. The first candidate is available Wednesday from 4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the second will be available from 12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday in the UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services conference room.

● Community Service Commissioner Jonathan Wisner said his office has released applications to attend the IMPACT National Conference from Feb. 13-16, which hosts unique workshops about “service, action, and advocacy,” according to its website. Applications for this paid trip are due Dec. 20 and he said all students are invited and encouraged to apply.

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