This Fall Quarter has seen major changes to the Associated Students’ policy with new innovative projects and increased programs for students. A.S.’s budget has increased this school year due to high enrollment and increased student fees, giving them more flexibility to pursue more ambitious projects.
A.S. Financial Controller Justin Pennish outlined a wide range of short-term and long-term goals for this school year. For fall, he aimed to establish a sustainable budget, guidelines about spending given the budget expansion and potential for growth; for winter and spring, his plans will be to launch new kinds of funding for student organizations that will allow them to purchase items they were not able to previously.
Pennish wants to leave A.S. with a sustainable framework for the expansion and growth that A.S. and UC San Diego will be experiencing over the next few years, including tangible things such as assessment reports for budget projections, recommendations for allocation of financial resources and resources for students to be more equipped with the challenges of college life.
“My long-term, reach goal for spring is to establish a financial literacy program,” Pennish told the UCSD Guardian. “As part of A.S.’s commitment to basic needs security this year, my office wants to be a leader in helping to provide a resource for students to master financial literacy in ways that positively influence their knowledge, understanding and decision-making power over decisions that affect them directly and daily.”
Besides working on improving student life and community, A.S. Council also functions as a mediator between the student body and the professors and faculty. One of the current debates in the Academic Senate is whether to change the Week Nine drop deadline to an earlier time.
According to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Rushil Patel, Faculty felt that the number of students withdrawing so late into the quarter was unnecessary.
“Faculty were complaining about the number of students withdrawing Week 9 when they felt there was no need to,” Patel told the UCSD Guardian. “They found this deadline to be more convenient for students and less beneficial for everyone. They also found that other UCs have a less lenient withdrawal policy and faculty wants to align with them.”
If this policy change were to happen, it would be in effect Fall Quarter 2018 so professors can have time to adjust their syllabus structure such that students will receive feedback on their performance earlier and can make a decision about whether to drop the class.
Associated Vice President of Academic Affairs Rushil Patel, who has sent out a survey about the deadline, feels that the dialogue surrounding this potential policy change does not capture the students’ perspective and best interests.
“I don’t agree with the policy,” Patel said. “I think the other UCs should line up with us given that students don’t withdraw for the sake of convenience. Taking a W is a big decision that I firmly believe students approach with caution. I’m a bit skeptical as to how much faculty would budget in changing their schedules to provide input earlier on in the quarter.”
Other changes include A.S. Council Senator funds — which are typically used for Senator projects that are meant to enhance the quality of student life for their constituencies — which have been underutilized in past years. New changes to the policy will increase usage, accountability, transparency and the viability that projects will be completed in a timely manner. Some notable funding changes for programs are the budget increase for the Triton Food Pantry and the partnership with Uber for Safe Rides, which will both work to provide services for students.