Council Gets ‘Shocking’ Ending to Visit from New Vice Chancellor

    New Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue delivered
    some grandmotherly advice to A.S. councilmembers yesterday evening before their
    meeting transitioned into a contentious debate about the purchase of
    objectionable foam fingers by “elite spirit crew” Triton Tide.

    After extolling the virtues of informed advocacy, coalition
    building and learning from mistakes, Rue fielded questions from councilmembers.

    In response to a question from A.S. President Marco Murillo,
    Rue explained her philosophy about campuswide community building. Her vision of
    community consisted of three levels — individual friendship, participation in
    student organizations and all-campus identity.

    Rue challenged the council to continue supporting student
    organizations that serve her second level of community, while at the same time
    making their members feel that they’re a part of a larger UCSD community.

    “Most of our sense of membership and belonging comes from
    that mediating group,” Rue said of student organizations. “I think if we’re
    doing it well … membership in those groups also feels like membership at UCSD.”

    Rue also discussed long-term plans to bolster campuswide
    community by building more on-campus housing, including special-interest
    housing (potentially for the Greek community).

    After an amicable conversation with Rue, the council
    addressed a controversial funding request during committee reports.

    A $4,000 funding request for Triton Tide initially received
    support from Triton Tide President and John Muir College Council Chair Dave
    Payne and All-Campus Senator Meghan Clair.

    But after Thurgood Marshall College Senator Kyle Samia
    pressed for more concrete details about how Triton Tide planned to use the
    funding, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Long Pham led the charge
    against the request.

    “Let’s have a real discussion about why they’re asking,”
    Pham said. “Money was spent to buy unacceptable sexually offensive foam
    fingers.”

    At the beginning of the quarter, Triton Tide worked with the
    council to use $2,000 of last year’s unspent money to buy foam fingers.

    The foam fingers, meant to represent tridents, also
    resembled a sexually suggestive hand gesture commonly referred to as the
    “shocker.”

    According to Vice President of Finance and Resources Sarah
    Chang, a miscommunication between A.S. officers and Payne prevented anyone from
    proofing one of the foam fingers before they were manufactured.

    The $4,000 request was meant to cover Triton Tide’s loss as
    well as provide an additional $2,000 for more merchandise.

    “I think the council lost a lot of accountability,” Pham
    said of the incident. “We’re willing to overlook that even though they wasted
    $2,000 of student fees?”

    Luke Pulaski, representing the Interfraternity Council,
    brought the meeting full circle when he revisted Rue’s teaching of forgiving
    mistakes in defense of Triton Tide’s foam finger fiasco. Minutes later the
    request passed with a 13-9-3 vote, ending the night’s heated discussion.

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