A.S. Council, Watts Ride Emotional Rollercoaster

    Although there are only five weeks remaining of the current A.S. Council’s time in office, the first meeting of spring quarter did not break the recent trend of being emotionally charged and controversial.

    The meeting began on a somber and reflective note, with A.S. Executive Assistant Chris Terry performing a candle-lighting ceremony in honor of Academic Affairs Chief of Staff Ben Sumner, who died in a skiing accident over spring break.

    “This is to represent that Ben will be here with us for the rest of our terms, and always,” Vice President Internal Angela Fornero said before a moment of silence dedicated to his memory.

    After the completion of the ceremony, public input brought things back to business as usual, with accusations of corruption, personal grievances and students donning armor and hitting each other with large sticks. Well, perhaps that last thing hasn’t happened before, but in prior meetings, it appeared to be just footsteps away from occurring.

    Members of the UCSD kendo team performed a brief demonstration of their techniques after emphasizing the necessity of their funding request that the council was considering and later would go on to approve. After a few minutes of lighthearted entertainment, Earl Warren College senior and A.S. presidential candidate Daniel Watts took the stage and changed the mood entirely.

    Watts accused certain A.S. Council members of abusing their own policies on a trip to the University of Wisconsin, Madison by purchasing T-shirts and shot glasses and later applying for council reimbursements to cover the cost.

    “If you request the receipts through California public records like I did, you will see it,” Watts said, to the vehement headshaking of Vice President External Samantha Peterson and President Christopher Sweeten. “You can scrunch up your face all you want, Christopher, but we have the receipts.”

    With only three funding requests on the agenda for immediate consideration, there was little discussion to be had. However, the accused councilmembers fired back at Watts’ allegations, claiming that no misuse of student funds took place.

    Sweeten announced that upon reviewing the receipts, only one person, former Vice President External Kevin Mann, had applied for reimbursement for such purchases, and had been reprimanded for doing so.

    “The individual will be charged for it,” Sweeten said.

    Peterson, who was not even in office at the time of the purchase, was quick to make light of the situation when announcing the upcoming Students of Color Conference.

    “They are going to be selling T-shirts, so I guess we should be more careful this time,” she said.

    With nothing else to debate, the meeting was finished in half the usual duration.

    However, with elections looming and accusations of dirty campaigning already beginning to surface, it seems unlikely that this trend will continue in the weeks to come.

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