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USAC recap – May 12

By Justin Jung

May 19, 2020 7:30 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.

Note: Both the 2019-2020 council and 2020-2021 council held meetings scheduled for Tuesday night. Both are detailed below.

Public Comment:

  • Samahang Pilipino President Josephine Flores said she supports a council resolution recognizing efforts to increase access and retention for Filipinx students.

Special Presentations:

2019-2020 Council

  • UC Police Department Community Services Division Lieutenant Scott Scheffler said incidences of violent crime and property crime rates are down about 60% and 15% respectively, but burglaries have risen by about 50%.

  • Representatives from the California Public Interest Research Group, a statewide student lobbyist group, said that they are working with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Monroe Gorden on projects to reduce food insecurity and to protect bee populations. CALPIRG has also raised $460 for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to cover unforeseen costs due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, said Hailey Valles, a second-year microbiology student.

  • A transfer student with a vision disability said he was unable to vote in the spring USAC election, due to a formatting issue on the MyUCLA website that made it incompatible with his screenreader, said USAC Facilities Commissioner Lily Shaw and USAC Transfer Student Representative Isabel Oraha.

  • Students who withdrew from UCLA spring quarter, due to financial reasons or study abroad cancelations related to the coronavirus outbreak, were also unable to vote, said USAC Financial Supports Commissioner Millen Srivastava.

2020-2021 Council

  • USAC President Naomi Riley proposed sending letters to specific professors who have not been accommodating to students facing hardships due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Agenda:

2019-2020 Council

  • 2019-2020 USAC President Robert Watson swore the 2020-2021 council into office.

  • The council allocated $1,000 from the Contingency to non-USAC groups.

  • The council approved a resolution in support of survivors of sexual assault, in response to changes to Title IX procedures announced by the United States Department of Education.

  • The council approved a resolution calling on the UCLA Community Programs Office to release detailed budget reports for the Campus Retention Committee and Student Initiated Outreach Committee, which the CPO oversees.

  • The council approved a resolution recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community of Empowerment and the 30th anniversary of Samahang Pilipino Education and Retention. Both groups provide access and retention programs for Filipinx students.

  • The council approved a resolution recognizing students involved in the drafting of the Cultivating Unity for Bruins referendum, which did not pass in this year’s USAC election. The resolution also proposed a plan for managing and allocating student fees that would have come from the referendum, had it passed.

  • The council approved a charter for Good Clothes Good People as the organization’s guiding document.

  • The council approved a bylaw change that prohibits the use of a presidential veto on votes other than for budgetary changes or allocations, and allows the council to override vetoes with a two-thirds majority vote.

  • The council approved a bylaw change that standardizes transition procedures and responsibilities, such as overseeing Books for Bruins, for the USAC Office of the Academic Affairs Commissioner.

  • The council approved a bylaw change that directs profits from the Off-Campus Living Fair to the USAC Internal Vice President Partnership Fund.

2020-2021

  • The council approved the CUB referendum resolution passed by the 2019-2020 council.

Reports:

2019-2020 Council

  • President Robert Watson said his office met with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Monroe Gorden to discuss budget issues and the university’s plans for online instruction in the fall. The Senior Celebration Task Force met to discuss potential ways to recognize graduating seniors, Watson added.

  • Internal Vice President Kimberly Bonifacio said her office met with Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck to create the Public Safety Advisory Council charter.

  • External Vice President Johana Guerra Martinez said her office worked with CALPIRG on the BruinsVOTE! campaign to help students register to vote, which is aiming to help 10,000 UC students to vote in the fall elections.

  • Financial Supports Commissioner Millen Srivastava said the USAC COVID-19 Relief Fund award was reduced to $250 from $500, and 480 applications were approved for the award in the first round.

  • Campus Events Commissioner Tara Steinmetz said her office held a cooking event with Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye, a Netflix series. She added that voting for the Shorttakes Student Film Festival is open until Sunday. She also said her office will be hosting a charitable yoga class event.

  • Student Wellness Commissioner Mihika Sridhar said 401 applications were approved for the $500 SWC COVID-19 Relief Fund award.

  • Academic Affairs Commissioner Naomi Riley said her office is discussing the transition to online learning with UCLA officials.

2020-2021 Council

  • External Vice President Aidan Arasasingham said his office wants to increase community engagement and council accountability. He added that his office is forming the Transition Advisory Group with graduating seniors from several campus groups to gather advice on forming his office. He also said he will meet with the UC Board of Regents to discuss UC standardized testing admissions requirements and the University’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

  • Facilities Commissioner Sachi Cooper said the UCLA Disability Student Union will hold a May 20 Netflix screening of Crip Camp with UCLA faculty.

  • Financial Supports Commissioner Noe Garcia said his office is working with UCLA to gather about $80,000 to $100,000 to fund the USAC COVID-19 Relief Fund.

  • Academic Affairs Commissioner Breeze Velazquez said her office met with officials from UCLA Undergraduate Student Initiated Education to extend the deadline for USIE student representative applications to week 10 of fall quarter. USIE is an educational program for third and fourth-year students to create a lower division class at UCLA. She also said she met with UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Undergraduate Affairs chair Meredith Phillips to discuss issues facing communities of color.

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