Hang-Ups Over Survey Language Keep Council Until Wee Hours

The particulars of the language of a Winter Quarter 2010 student survey — as well as a prolonged debate over various allocations of funds — dominated the drawn-out final Fall Quarter A.S. council meeting last night.

An especially lengthy presentation from Professor Ross Frank of the Ethnic Studies department encouraged the council to install an impartial director within the A.S. Local Affairs office to review American-Indian representation.

Student Kayvan Ghaffari presented a resolution to make the graffiti stairs in Mandeville Hall a legal place for free expression. Ghaffari proposed Winter and Spring Quarters as a trial period for students to tag freely without fear of being prosecuted by police.

President Utsav Gupta updated councilmembers on the Fall 2009 happenings. Gupta successfully created new positions within his office, obtained ‘B’ parking permits for senators and college chairs, expanded the UCSD football team support group on Facebook to 4,000 members and cinched lieutenant governor lead candidate Janice Hahn to speak on campus in March.

During the rest of his term, Gupta hopes to increase A.S. visibility efforts with weekly video podcasts, create better public relations by holding more press conferences and town-hall meetings and fight for priority enrollment for A.S. councilmembers in spring.

Eleanor Roosevelt College Senator Pauline Nuth said that ERC is currently seeking a new provost and looking to revamp the Making of the Modern World core program.

The most heated discussion of the night began with a debate over $2,160 allocated to the Center for Student Involvement for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. parade. In past years, A.S. only funded the parade $1,500. Councilmembers were split over the amount, but decided to allocate a nice median of $1,900 for the event.

AVP Academic Affairs Jordan Taylor and VP Finance and Resources Peter Benesch got into a two-person debate over the Course and Professor Evaluation student-survey funds. Benesch wanted to protect C.A.P.E. by providing a “‘necessary” Memorandum of Understanding for funding, but Taylor insisted that it would slow the process and hinder the program. An allocation of $10,000 was approved to move from C.A.P.E. to the U.S. grants line item.

As the night dragged on, a number of councilmembers left, and the fourth-floor forum was left with 17 members — exactly quorum, or the minimum number of members needed to be present for a valid vote.

Wording of the Winter Quarter student survey posed the biggest time-hog of the night. Councilmembers debated for more than two hours over a 16-question survey.

Vague word choices, such as “something other than the above,” drove councilmembers into the most intense debate of the night. They discussed wording and potential hidden messages behind questions about food ideas at the Grove Cafe, the proposed A.S. store merchandise and different types of Loft events.

Freshman Senator Kevin Hoang accidentally referred to students as “children” when discussing whether or not students visit the Grove Cafe.

By 1:15 a.m., councilmembers were still dissecting the survey questions, citing a motion to add questions about how much students are willing to spend to support a potential football team, the Loft and transportation.

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