USAC recap – Oct. 5
Oct. 10, 2021 10:27 p.m.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council passed a resolution Oct. 5 calling on the university to provide more support for UCLA students in search of off-campus housing. The resolution requested reinstatement of the Community Housing Office and proposed that the university partner with College Pads, a website that simplifies the apartment search process for university students.
- Radha Patel, the chair of the UCLA chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group Students, said Gov. Newsom signed four bills to reduce plastic waste on Oct. 5. The bills include AB 1200, which bans the use of toxic perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in disposable food packaging, and SB 343, which bans misleading recycling labels.
- The council allocated $500 to Cadenza A Cappella, an inclusive singing group for female-identifying students, for their fall retreat.
- The council allocated $164.95 to the Taiwanese American Student Association for their fall food night.
- The council allocated $1,756.33 to the Film and Photography Society for their film production fund.
- The council allocated $750 to the Data Science Union for their weekly meetings.
- The council allocated $500 to the Muslim Student Association for their beginning of the year banquet.
- The council allocated $51.67 to the Life Sciences Student Association for their coffee chats.
- The council unanimously approved a resolution to improve off-campus housing accessibility through reinstating the Community Housing Office and partnering with College Pads, a company that provides resources for college students in search of housing. The resolution stated that UCLA does not have enough housing for the number of students at the school and has failed to accommodate students at risk of not having housing options. Additionally, Transfer Student Representative Herman Luis Chavez, who introduced the resolution, said UCLA has not provided adequate housing resources for the transfer community during the Fall 2021 return to in-person classes.
- The council approved a bylaw change that adds a position for a transfer student to the Associated Students UCLA Communications Board. However, because only the Office of the President can appoint a student to the position according to the USAC constitution, the transfer student representative will recommend a student, rather than appointing one themselves, Chavez said.
- The council approved a bylaw change that gives the transfer student representative the power to appoint one undergraduate transfer representative to the Faculty Executive Committee, a committee under the Academic Senate.
- The council appointed Navdha Sharma, a third-year neuroscience student, to the ASUCLA Communications Board. Sharma said she hopes to encourage a stronger sense of community among the diverse student media groups by holding more social events, increasing recruitment of student media staff and prioritizing the mental health of student journalists when they write about sensitive topics.
- The council appointed Josh Boynton, a fourth-year political science and history student, to the Academic Senate Undergraduate Council. Boynton said he hopes to apply his experience in student government during community college and looks forward to starting his own projects to research potential legislation.
- The council appointed Sean Sugai, a third-year anthropology and human biology and society student, to the LGBTQ Affairs Committee. Several council members said Sugai is a persistent advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and has already been proactive in the inclusion of transfer students in his plans.
- The council appointed Nathan Au, a third-year chemical engineering student, to the Campus Sustainability Committee.
- President Breeze Velazquez said her office wrote a letter to the Community Programs Office calling for more transparency in their budget reports – specifically a more detailed list of where money had been sent in the past 5 years. She added that USAC will seek out other sources of funding if they are not given enough detail within the next two weeks. She also said she met with COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force Co-Chair Megan McEvoy to discuss attendance policies as in-person classes resume. She added that the university should change its requirements for in-person instruction to include hybrid options to create the safest and most equitable learning environment for all students. She also said the university will place holds on winter quarter enrollment for partially vaccinated students rather than dropping their fall quarter classes.
- Internal Vice President Cassandra Gatica said her office has been working on an upcoming mental health resource guide with General Representative 1 Hailey Valles. She added she is partnering with UCLA Campus Assault Resources & Education to host sexual violence and sexual harassment trainings for student leaders and organizations. She also said her office aims to collaborate with Divest/Invest UCLA Faculty Collective in advocacy for abolition of university policing. She added that she worked with Bruin Shelter and Bruins for Accessible Resources to create a housing resource guide.
- External Vice President Sarah Wang said her office is working with UC Student Health Insurance Plan, Center for Accessible Education and Bruin Resource Center to encourage the extension of emergency health care that had been available to students during the pandemic and provide more resources for students with disabilities.
- General Representative 2 Passa Pungchai said in a written statement that she attended the Academic Affairs Commission’s Academic Senate meeting to encourage collaboration with the council to advocate for open source learning.
- General Representative 3 Carl King said in a written statement that his office launched a financial literacy series in partnership with the Financial Wellness Program. He also said he spoke with the Afrikan Student Union to initiate platform collaboration.
- Academic Affairs Commissioner Angelina Quint said her office met with senior administrators – including Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Monroe Gorden, Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Development Suzanne Seplow – and the Disabled Student Union to ask for more remote and hybrid learning options to provide a more equitable learning experience but received no written commitment. She added that DSU held a protest Oct. 8 to further emphasize the need for better accommodation for disabled students. She also said she will be advocating for a financial aid system that is more timely and transparent. She added that she aims to expand the student advocacy board for more coverage of financial aid issues.
- Financial Supports Commissioner Emily Yu said in a written statement that her office met with the UCLA Financial Aid Office, AAC and General Representative 1 to cover the issue of undocumented students being compelled by the Selective Service to quickly produce documentation of their registration as students. She added that she worked with the FSC to rent school materials including clickers, goggles and lab coats to students in need.
- Student Wellness Commissioner Tayloneei Jackson said in a written statement that her office discussed reshaping UCLA Basic Needs with the Community Programs Office in partnership with the TSR and the FSC.
- Chavez said his office has been encouraging transfer awareness screenings for members of USAC offices to ensure the inclusion and consideration of transfer communities in policy decisions.