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IN THE NEWS:

SJP and UC Divest Coalition Demonstrations at UCLAUCLA chancellor appointment

USAC Recap – May 14

By Lilly Wellons

May 20, 2024 8:27 p.m.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council held its second meeting of May virtually Tuesday.

USAC is the official student government representing the undergraduate student body at UCLA. Council meetings are open to all students and usually take place in person at the Bruin Viewpoint Room and on Zoom every Tuesday at 7 p.m. Students can find the links for the meetings on the agenda posted on the USAC website or watch a livestream on the USAC Live! channel on YouTube.

Public comment:

  • A representative for the California Public Interest Research Group said the organization’s lead campaign for next year will work to prevent old-growth trees from being cut down. Kelly said eight members of her organization attended the 19th Annual California Ocean Day to advocate for bills that enforce cleaner oceans. She added that CALPIRG also worked with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to introduce a bill to ban plastic bags.

Funding:

  • The council allocated $16,311.33 from the Contingency Programming Fund to one USAC entity and 46 non-USAC entities.
  • The council allocated $3,289 from the Supplemental Fund for Service to one USAC entity and five non-USAC entities.
  • The council allocated $117.48 from the Student Wellness Fund to five non-USAC entities.
  • The council allocated $6,700 from the Arts Restoring Community Fund to four non-USAC entities.
  • The council allocated $10,509.70 from The Green Initiative Fund to three non-USAC entities.

Special presentations:

  • Internal Vice President Megan Law said there were no new Elections Board updates Tuesday but reminded councilmembers to advertise the USAC elections, which ended Friday at 2 p.m.
  • Raymond Manguso, the director of Commuter and Parking Services for UCLA, gave an update on his department’s focus for the upcoming fiscal year and an overview of its funding. Manguso said over the past few years, the department has focused on improving accessibility to campus through programs such as Bruin U-Pass, BruinBus and the Metro D line extension. He added that UCLA Transportation is completely self-funded, and all proceeds from parking permits and passes go directly back to facilitating transportation to campus. Manguso then presented a proposed parking fee increase of 3.3% to yellow and blue permit monthly rates following inflation and departmental budgeting.

Officer reports:

  • President Naomi Hammonds said she hosted a community dinner Monday night, where she encouraged students to vote in the USAC elections and addressed concerns and questions. She added that she has continued to attend daily meetings with External Vice President Eva Jussim, Graduate Student Association representatives, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Monroe Gorden and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Development Suzanne Seplow. Hammonds also said the Center for Accessible Education is looking to reduce the turnaround for giving accommodations to those who need academic assistance. She said she also met with UC President Michael Drake to talk about amnesty and academic leniency for students and learned more about the investigation that will be looking into the attacks on the Palestinian solidarity encampment.
  • Law said she has been working to transfer $75,000 to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for the housing relief fund and is reviewing applications for the program. She added that she attended last week’s USAC debates and has been working on her transition documents to provide information for her successor.
  • Jussim said she has continued to attend daily meetings with Monroe and Seplow. She also encouraged other councilmembers to reach out to her if they have any questions for the administration so they can be asked at these meetings. Jussim added that the UC Regents meeting was this week, where representatives from UC Divest and other UCLA student leaders advocated for amnesty for students.
  • General Representative Katie Pool said she is putting together a guide for her successor to ease the transition and help answer their questions.
  • General Representative Gabby Lasry was not in attendance. According to her written report, she attended a meeting with the Campus Retention Committee to discuss USAC bylaws changes and continued to work on her office’s graduate packages initiative.
  • General Representative Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia said he has been working on his office’s plan and has created a yearlong report on what his office has done for his successor. He also said the Latinx town hall has been postponed. Mejia also said he is disgusted by the comments allegedly made by general representative candidate Evie Sijl regarding the Palestine solidarity encampment.
  • Academic Affairs Commissioner Sujana Sridhar said she has been advocating for academic leniency. She added that the UCLA Academic Senate’s vote of no confidence will take place May 17 and that as a representative to the Senate, she has been providing a student perspective. Sridhar said there has been progress with her office’s partnership with student legal services and that she will have an update on that progress soon.
  • Campus Events Commissioner Mason Miller was not in attendance. His written report said his office hosted an event at the Hammer Museum and a live version of the podcast, “Emergency Intercom.” Miller added in his report that his office is working on multiple new projects and will provide further updates on the commission’s Instagram.
  • Community Service Commissioner Chia Ying Wong said she was shocked by some of the comments allegedly made by a candidate running in the USAC election. She added that her office is running Project Bruin, which introduces middle schoolers to higher education, and the Service Impact Summit as the last two events before the end of her term. Wong also said she has been working on her transition documents for her successor.
  • Cultural Affairs Commissioner Alicia Verdugo said allegations against a candidate who was running for general representative should be taken seriously and that they believe no representative should incite violence against the students they hope to represent. Verdugo said the rest of her office’s events for the academic year have been canceled, adding that she has concerns over the levels of security officials still on campus. Verdugo also said they are still finishing final allocations and bylaw changes for the commission before the end of their term.
  • Facilities Commissioner Nilaya Kanuri said the Sepulveda Transit Corridor for All coalition will be a part of the UCLA booth at the Pick Pico Street Fair on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. She added that the fair will be a great space to support the Westwood community and learn about local nonprofits. Kanuri also said Mobile Bike Repair is offering free bike tune-ups for students and staff for Bike Month.
  • Financial Supports Commissioner Sara Broukhim said she has been working with 580 Café on food distributions for students. She added that she is hosting a town hall on Friday to discuss how the commission can help with the funds it has allocated for this project.
  • Student Wellness Commissioner Jennis Kang said she also stands with the other commissioners speaking out against the candidate who allegedly discussed recent events in inappropriate and offensive ways. Kang said her office is still looking for ways to promote healing for all students.
  • Transfer Student Representative Meagan Harmon said she will be speaking at the postponed Transfer Bruin Day on Friday. She added that her office is hosting a mental health check-in event Thursday in collaboration with Counseling and Psychological Services. Harmon said she has launched the Graduation Picture Opportunities initiative by request of the transfer student community and condemned comments made by one candidate in the USAC election.
  • International Student Representative Adam Tfayli said he is starting a coalition of Middle Eastern clubs, which he says is inspired by Mejia’s Latinx Caucus. He added that he agrees with other councilmembers on the allegations against Sijl.

 

Agenda items:

  • The council unanimously approved a change to its bylaws to grant the facilities commissioner the ability to appoint a member of the Campus Bike Advisory Committee.
  • The council unanimously approved a change to its bylaws that would strike a position that is no longer recognized by the SWC.
  • The council unanimously approved a proposal to change the bylaws of the Student Health Advisory Committee to grant the SWC the ability to appoint two representatives on the committee.
  • The council unanimously approved a letter to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office advocating for amnesty for student protestors across LA.
  • Law introduced a proposal to change the bylaws of the Facilities Commision. The change clarifies that the commissioner does not have to be the chair of TGIF but may hold another position on the council. The amendment will be voted on next week.

 

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