USAC recap – April 28
By Justin Jung
May 5, 2020 7:15 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. 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.
- California Public Interest Research Group at UCLA is creating a grant for professors to switch to free open resource textbooks, said Joseph Matveyenko, a CALPIRG representative. CALPIRG wants to make textbooks more affordable and accessible to students, said Matveyenko, a first-year political science and Russian studies student.
- Prabhdeep Rai, a third-year history student, said there is no forum for UCLA Transportation student drivers to voice their concerns about their job. There is only one van currently available because the other van was taken off service, Rai said.
- Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Monroe Gorden Jr. said that two Community Programs Office committees, the Student Initiated Outreach Committee and the Campus Retention Committee, may have been in noncompliance with their statements of understanding, or SOUs, which are the committees’ governing documents. USAC has requested that the two committees, which collectively control over $2.7 million in student fees, release comprehensive budget reports. Gordon said he should be held accountable for any violations of the SOUs.
- The council voted March 10 to withhold about $800,000 from the SIOC and CRC until comprehensive budget reports are presented. USAC General Representative 1 Eduardo Velazquez said that although USAC received basic budget reports, they are not detailed enough. Associate Dean of Students Debra Geller said that the council cannot divert the student fees withheld to new purposes, and it is unclear whether the council has the authority to delay the funding.
- The Community Service Mini Fund is expanding its guidelines for funding because of the coronavirus outbreak, said Angela Li, the fund’s chair. The fund will now also fund virtual programming, care packages and resources for community partners, said Li, a third-year economics and sociology student.
- The council allocated a total of $644 from the Contingency Programming Fund to non-USAC groups.
- The council allocated a total of $11,000 from The Green Initiative Fund to USAC and non-USAC groups.
- The council approved a bylaw change that changes the use of surplus funds from the Community Service Commission. The CSC surplus will now be used for a new transportation fund for service organizations. The bylaw previously required that surpluses be split between an endowment fund for the Robert S. Michaels Leadership in Service Award and directly fund the John H. Sarvey Service Award. However, the Michaels award is currently funded through annual donations, and the Sarvey award does not need additional funding.
- President Robert Watson said his office met with University of California President Janet Napolitano and discussed the University’s plans for responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Napolitano said plans for fall quarter have not been finalized, but will be decided by each campus chancellor based on guidelines that will be published by the UC Office of the President, Watson said. He also said his office met with Gordon and Afrikan Student Union chair Alexandria Davis about the implications of the potential passage of the Cultivating Unity for Bruins referendum on the proposed Black Resource Center. Watson added that his office met with Chancellor Gene Block about the referenda threshold, which sets the minimum number of student signatures needed to put a referendum on the USAC ballot.
- Internal Vice President Kimberly Bonifacio said her office is planning to meet with Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck to discuss how student representatives to the Public Safety Advisory Council will be selected.
- External Vice President Johana Guerra Martinez said her office has released the Racial Justice Now grant applications, which funds student organizations that conduct advocacy work on racial justice issues. She added her office will be conducting student Regent interviews and sending its recommendations to UCOP on Saturday.
- General Representative 2 Orion Smedley said his office is categorizing item descriptions on the USAC budget report.
- General Representative 3, Brandon Broukhim said his office met with local community leaders to help students and businesses facing hardships due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Campus Events Commissioner Tara Steinmetz said her office held its first Instagram Live remote concert series Tuesday, and will hold more remote concerts two to three times a week for the rest of the academic year. She also said that her office will hold a livestream event with Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye on May 9.
- Transfer Representative Isabel Oraha said her office will work with the UCLA Transfer Leadership Coalition on a May 16 Bruin Bound webinar for student activism.
- Christina Read, a proxy for the Student Wellness Commission, said Active Minds will hold weekly meetings with mental health experts.
- Community Service Commissioner Jonathan Wisner said his office has disbursed all available funds to the USAC COVID-19 Relief Fund, SWC COVID-19 Student Relief Fund and Books for Bruins. He added that the 10 recipients of the Robert S. Michaels Leadership in Service Award have been announced.
- Academic Affairs Commissioner Naomi Riley said her office has been working with the UCLA Future Planning Task Force to discuss the university’s plans for summer session C and fall quarter. She also said that Books for Bruins has been delayed due to an online transaction limit of $2,000 per day on Zelle, a money transfer application.