AS Council Brief Weeks 6 & 7: Constitutional reform, environmental advocacy and strengthening teacher-student communication

Week 6

At the week 6 meeting of the SA Council on May 4, senators discussed reform of the SA constitution, upcoming events with speakers and environmental advocacy initiatives.

Associate Vice President of Campus Affairs (VPCA), Isaac Lara, began by outlining the broad outlines of the constitutional overhaul. This stems from Lara’s presentation last quarter, when he first presented proposed changes to the AS constitution. Since then, a number of these constitutional changes have been implemented.

Key changes include implementing a new leadership structure, which splits Lara’s current role as VPCA into three separate roles, establishing a standardized hiring protocol, and eliminating the quantitative requirement of two projects for AS senators.

Following these constitutional changes, Lara will focus on revising the permanent rules and regulations of the constitution. Unlike the constitution, which cannot be suspended and provides a basic skeleton of the structure of the senate, the permanent rules and regulations can be suspended if necessary and are much more detailed in their descriptions of SA policies and procedures.

Next, the SA offered to discuss updates on senators’ projects, as well as provide senators’ reports. Arts and Humanities Academic Senator Rhianen Callahan spoke about her interest in implementing initiatives that facilitate conversations between faculty members and students about student experiences. They explained that such a dialogue would enable faculty and students to jointly advocate against university-wide policies that are less accepting of student experiences, as well as advocate for better accommodations for students. .

Callahan also promoted their May 9 event, Global Freedom Struggles in Kashmir and Palestine. The event featured guest speakers to discuss academic privilege and rights in research. Callahan has been a strong advocate for transparency in research, having highlighted a UC San Diego professor who was accused of breaching research ethics in his dissertation project on Kashmir clinics during from previous AS meetings.

Freshman Senator Xavier Lopez then provided updates on the Zero Waste Fair Trade Hygiene Project. Lopez plans to file May 27 to educate and encourage students to use laundry detergent sheets instead of Tide Pods or other liquid detergents. Laundry detergent sheets, says Lopez, are more environmentally friendly because they result in less plastic waste and less carbon emissions.

AS continued to discuss the constitutional review. Specifically, Lara invited senators to provide their input on ways to improve the relationship between the SA and college councils, as well as discuss the number of senators each college council should have. Previously, Lara had proposed that the number of college board senators be reduced from two to one.

Week 7

At the week 7 meeting of the SA Council on May 11, senators continued to discuss constitutional reform. Additionally, they discussed the global freedom struggles in Kashmir and Palestine held on Monday.

Beginning the meeting, Associate Vice President for Campus Affairs (VPCA) Isaac Lara continued his presentation on AS Constitutional Reform. Continuing in the vein of her Week 7 presentation, Lara presented a final version of the revised constitution and invited SA members to provide input.

In addition to fleshing out the specific details of the changes proposed the previous week, Lara also introduced new amendments in response to comments from senators. One of the key amendments proposed this week was to reform AS terms to align with UC San Diego’s tax calendar, to facilitate processes with the campus.

Transfer Sen. Anna Zick reported that training for transfer orientation officials has been completed. Zick had also met with college board chairs to present Zick’s transfer committee charter, as well as to invite college transfer board representatives to serve on the committee. All transfer representatives have agreed to join the committee.

Following this, Callahan briefed the council on the event on global freedom struggles in Kashmir and Palestine held on Monday. The virtual panel had invited May Shigenobu, a visiting scholar in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at UC Riverside; Huma Dar, adjunct professor of critical studies at California College of the Arts; and Taher Herzallah, director of outreach and community organizing for American Muslims for Palestine.

SA Council meetings are held every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and are open to students. Students can participate in these meetings by joining their Zoom link or logging into Facebook Live.

Illustration by Ava Bayley for The UCSD Guardian.

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