USAC recap – May 4
By Ben Brill and Jamie Jiang
May 7, 2021 3:30 p.m.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council passed a resolution in support of the creation of a Basic Needs Student Advisory Board. The council discussed the alleged misuse of $30,000 of student funds for the renovation of the Center for Accessible Education and the voter turnout in the USAC elections.
- The Undergraduate Students Association Elections Board is alarmed by low voter turnout in the ongoing 2021 USAC election, said Alfred Tun, the elections board chair and a fourth-year political science and economics student. Tun added that the elections board had sent mass emails, reached out to academic departments and marketed to student organizations to encourage voter turnout. He urged USAC offices to work toward election support.
- Janine Dilla, the director of the Internal Affairs Committee, a research group at the USAC Office of the Transfer Student Representative, urged council members to vote for a resolution in support of the creation of a Basic Needs Student Advisory Board, adding that the Basic Needs Committee lacked transparency. The Basic Needs Committee decides how to best offer basic needs services to the student body. IAC research assistants Joaquin Escalante, Brandon Le and Yondon Jigjidsuren also voiced support for the resolution.
- Quinn O’Connor, the co-founder of the Disabled Student Union, criticized UCLA Student Affairs for its lack of communication with disabled student advocates, which resulted in the cancellation of a check for $30,000 of student funds allocated to the renovation of the UCLA CAE. O’Connor said the UCLA administration had a pattern of lacking communication with students with disabilities.
- The council allocated $600 to Asian Pacific Coalition, an organization that advocates for Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi student groups, for the organization’s Restorative Justice Workshop.
- The council allocated $270 to Consult Your Community at UCLA, a consulting organization that provides services to small businesses and startups, for a social event.
- The council allocated $482.40 to Vietnamese Language and Culture, a student organization that promotes and preserves Vietnamese customs, for their 2021 banquet.
- The council allocated $922.25 to Vietnamese Student Union, a cultural group for students of Vietnamese descent, for their HOPE Internship Closeout event and $300 for their 10th Annual Southeast Asian Transfer Enrichment Day.
- The council denied an allocation of $1,005.00 to Bruins Opposing Speciesism, a student advocacy group raising awareness around animal rights issues, for supplies for a BOS Internship Recognition Ceremony.
- The council allocated $150.00 to Afrikan Student Union, a cultural group for students of Black descent, for Egameni Lenu, the organization’s annual end-of-year celebration.
- The council allocated $533.33 to Liberty in North Korea at UCLA, a student advocacy group raising awareness about human rights for North Koreans, for their upcoming speaker event.
- The council allocated $200 to Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, a religious group, for their Virtual Murder Mystery Event.
- The council allocated $457.87 to Beta Alpha Psi, an academic organization and honor society for students interested in accounting, for their Puzzle Social event.
- The council allocated $750 to Bruin Republicans for their upcoming event with speaker John Doyle, a conservative commentator.
- The council allocated $168.00 to UCLA Students for Community Outreach, Promotion and Education’s Hablamos Juntos, a program that provides free classes to Spanish-speaking parents to support their childrens’ speech development, for their website.
- The council allocated $500 to Pilipinos in Engineering and Science, an academic student organization for Filipino students in STEM, for the organization’s Board Transition and Training Retreat.
- The council allocated $100 to Taiwanese American Student Association, a cultural group for students of Taiwanese descent, for the organization’s Spring Family Competition.
- The council allocated $100 to UConsulting, a student organization connecting undergraduates to the consulting industry, for their banquet.
- The council denied an allocation of $700.40 to Flying Samaritans at UCLA, a student volunteer group providing health services to communities in Tijuana, Mexico, for supplies for a fundraiser.
- The council allocated $269.92 to InterVarsity Bruin Christian Fellowship, a religious group, for a farewell picnic.
- The council allocated $72 to Public Health Initiative – Leaders of Tomorrow, a student pre-professional organization for students interested in public health, for a panel.
- The council allocated $600 to the Student Wellness Commission, a USAC group, for two events: Mental Health From Home and Navigating Expectations and Family Pressure.
- The council allocated $21,012.31 to the Arts Restoring Community Fund, a USAC fund, to distribute to nine student organizations: Vietnamese Student Union, META MAG, Hip Hop Congress, Game Music Ensemble, Bruin Audubon, Central American Isthmus Graduate Association, Hawaii Club, Hooligan Theater Company, Afro Grad and Pilipinx Grad.
- The council approved a USA financial guidelines change that would increase the maximum possible stipend for elections board members to a weekly rate of $240 for the chairperson, $160 for the vice chairperson, and $115 for members of the Election Board Executive Committee. However, next year’s council will decide whether stipends will be increased.
- The council approved a change to the USA Contingency Capital Item Funds to include more specific language regarding dates for proposal deadlines and a cap spending on technological needs.
- The council approved a guidelines change to specify which projects the Green Initiative Fund can prioritize and added gender-inclusive language instead of explicitly gendered pronouns.
- The council approved a bylaw change to add Safe Parking at UCLA and Homelessness Awareness Week to the list of officially designated priorities of the USAC Facilities Commission.
- The council approved a bylaw change to formally designate the International Student Representative as a representative of UCLA to the University of California International Student Leadership Coalition.
- The council approved a bylaw change to allow the International Student Representative and the Transfer Student Representative to make appointments to the Undergraduate Council, the Academic Senate Committee, the Legislative Assembly, the Committee on International Education and the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- The council passed a resolution introduced by External Vice President Aidan Arasasingham supporting the construction of an LA Metro stop on UCLA’s campus. The project would connect the San Fernando Valley to West LA through an underground subway system with a stop in front of the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center.
- The council passed a resolution urging UCLA to sign the Open COVID Pledge, in which members pledge to share the intellectual property of COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations available internationally, introduced by third-year human biology and society student Mominah Subhan.
- The council passed a resolution introduced by Transfer Student Representative Zuleika Bravo which would create a Basic Needs Student Advisory Board, a student board that would give input to the decision-making process of the USAC Basic Needs Committee and provide transparency.
- President Naomi Riley said she will write to Monroe Gorden, the vice chancellor of student affairs, regarding whether UCLA campus police will adopt the University of California Universitywide Police Policies and Administrative Procedures, commonly called the Gold Book. Riley added that her office worked towards passing the USAC Bruin Emergency Relief Fund. Riley also said that she will be working to increase voter turnout for the 2021 USAC election and raise awareness about Abolition May, a national movement to remove police presence from college campuses.
- Internal Vice President Emily Luong said her office will post a follow-up guide educating students on how to respond to the Universitywide data breach. Her office will also update its LA Housing Resource Guide, she added. Luong also said she is working on a preliminary campus job review portal, where student workers can rate and comment on on-campus jobs.
- External Vice President Aidan Arasasingham said he represented UCLA students at a quarterly meeting on campus safety with EVPs from other University of California campuses. Arasasingham said UC President Michael Drake assured EVPs that the Gold Book likely would not be adopted as official campus police policy. Arasasingham added that the EVPs would continue to condemn the Gold Book and submit another expression of dissent. He added that the EVPs had begun mobilizing students against the proposed cohort-based tuition model, which would increase charges to incoming cohorts of new students but not to current students. Arasasingham also said his office will hold candidate town halls and educate students on how to vote in upcoming local elections.
- Financial Supports Commissioner Noe Garcia said the USAC 2021 Pandemic Relief Fund will be awarding $532,500 to 2,130 applicants. Garcia added he and Riley had represented the student body at a meeting with the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Student Grant Allocation Committee, a federal fund that provides financial aid to students facing financial challenges. Garcia said the second round of HERF applications is only for students with exceptional needs.
- Facilities Commissioner Sachi Cooper discussed the miscommunication and mismanagement of student funds for the renovation of the CAE with Associate Dean of Students Debra Geller and Dean of Students Maria Blandizzi. Geller said UCLA Student Affairs identified $100,000 of university funds to use instead of student funds and had intended to return the previously allocated $30,000 to USAC. Geller said that the check sent by USAC was never cashed and was eventually canceled. As a result, the money has been relegated to surplus funds for next year and cannot be used this year.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council is the official student government representing the undergraduate student body at UCLA. Council meetings take place every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. during spring quarter 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.