Senators Show Parliamentary Procedures In (In)Action

What began as a promising sex- and booze-themed A.S. Council meeting quickly fizzled into a comically tense environment after frustrations overadapting to parliamentary procedures gripped the new, fresh-faced student council.

Both the special presentation from the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention and Policy and the “council caucus” regarding the university’s jurisdiction in prosecuting sexual offenses took the spotlight of the meeting, though all the sex talk did nothing to lessen the building friction as the new group acclimated to their traditional policy and each other.

OSHPP Associate Director Carol Rogers put on a presentation about sexual harassment and assault, listing both the traditional and nontraditional ways in which one person can sexually harass another.

After the presentation had finished, A.S. President Harry Khanna reported several developments in campus issues after a meeting with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph W. Watson — most notably that the Student-Run Television station, which has been down for months, is finally back on the air. However, he added, the UC Office of the President is still reviewing the problem-ridden “acceptable use policy” for Triton Cable, which has been called the bane of the station’s existence since it was first proposed.

Regarding the proposal to allow alcohol at Triton athletic events, Khanna said that Watson is still opposed to the idea, but that he was going to continue to push the issue.

“They’re gonna drink no matter what, so you may as well have them drunk at the athletic games,” Khanna said with a laugh.

Returning to sexual harassment, Commissioner of Student Advocacy Travis Silva began a discussion to determine the council’s perspective on extending the university’s jurisdiction to take administrative action for violations of conduct rules that occur off campus. According to Silva, a federal mandate requires that the university handle complaints of sexual harassment, assault and battery that involve UCSD students regardless of location, but there is debate as to whether this should also extend to offenses against property and those committed against non-UC students. While there were a few dissenting voices who saw the topic in a different light, a seeming majority of the council was not in favor of extending the university’s authority to delve further into off-campus affairs.

Although council productivity held throughout the caucus, things seemed to fall apart during “new business” and an attempt to change a typographical error.

Changing “Virginia, California” to “Williamsburg, Virginia” took a whopping eight minutes, with growingly frustrated councilmembers sighing, rolling their eyes and exchanging irritated glances with one another. Though it didn’t take that long to ultimately resolve the issue, it does raise the question of how the councilmembers will react to each other with next week’s approval of the 2006-07 budget and promise of the “longest meeting of the year.” Perhaps if said budget is carefully proofread, everyone will be able to hold out just a little bit longer.