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USAC recap – April 14

By Inga Hwang

April 15, 2020 6:22 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. and are open to all students. Spring quarter meetings will take place virtually on Zoom; links for the meetings can be found on the internal vice president’s Facebook page. Watch a livestream of the meetings on the USAC Live! channel on YouTube.

Public Comment:

  • Representatives from the Transfer Student Center, the Afrikan Student Union, MEChA de UCLA and the Academic Affairs Commission said they support the Cultivating Unity for Bruins Referendum because they believe UCLA lacks adequate cultural centers and safe spaces on campus for marginalized student populations. The CUB Referendum introduces a $15.00 quarterly fee for undergraduate students, beginning in fall 2020, to fund space, resources and programming needs of marginalized and underrepresented communities.

  • A California Public Interest Research Group representative said the organization is circulating a petition to the California state government calling for mail-in ballots for the 2020 general election to be sent to all California voters.

  • Vivyana Prado, the chair of MEChA de UCLA, said she believes USAC should continue urging the Community Programs Office to be transparent regarding how it uses student fees.

Special Presentations:

  • UCPD spokesperson Lt. Scott Scheffler said UCPD is increasing campus patrols near buildings still occupied by students, such as residence halls, following reports of trespassers. He added that the lost-and-found, as well as the UCPD lobby, are closed.

Agenda:

  • The council discussed the establishment of a COVID-19 relief fund, which will provide $500 to $1,000 scholarships on an application basis for students financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will be read by a committee of 12 to 15 staff members from USAC offices. USAC offices will donate portions of their budgets to the fund.

  • The council voted to endorse the Good Clothes Good People Referendum, which introduces a $0.33 quarterly fee to undergraduate students, beginning in fall 2020, to fund the distribution of free school supplies and hygiene products at USAC’s GCGP redistribution center.

  • The council voted to endorse the Cultivating Unity for Bruins Referendum.

  • External Vice President Johana Guerra Martinez said she does not agree with the decision to include opposition and support speakers for referenda at the USAC candidate debate April 30. USA Election Board chair Navi Sidhu said he believes including opposition and support speakers allows students to better understand the referenda and will not lead to formation of opposition campaigns.

  • Josh O’Connor, assistant director of leadership and involvement for UCLA Residential Life, said De Neve Residential Restaurant has reopened and Feast at Rieber will reopen next week.

  • Academic Affairs Commissioner Naomi Riley said her office met with the UCLA Academic Senate about sending departmentwide emails to professors strongly encouraging them to introduce Pass/No Pass grading in their courses.

  • The council appointed Nneoma Kanu, a fourth-year sociology student, to the Campus Programs Committee.

Reports:

  • President Robert Watson said his office is working to ensure free blue books and scantrons will remain available to students after he leaves office.

  • Internal Vice President Kimberly Bonifacio said her office allocated $1,000 to Books for Bruins and plans to allocate the rest of its budget to the USAC COVID-19 relief fund.

  • General Representative 2 Orion Smedley said his office is working to develop natural language processing software to analyze budget documentation and present a breakdown of student fee allocations and spending to students.

  • Academic Affairs Commissioner Naomi Riley said her office worked with the Academic Senate to ensure students who have not paid their tuition will be contacted by financial aid to set up payment plans and not be dropped from classes. She added that her office has been meeting with the Academic Senate to discuss the possibility of holding summer session C and fall quarter classes online.

  • Facilities Commissioner Lily Shaw said her office helped to establish a disabled student union.

    • Transfer Student Representative Isabel Oraha said her office is focused on encouraging transfer students to vote in the USAC elections and plans to run spotlight features on transfer student candidates.

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