New Council Takes Seats, Debates Student Funding Again

The new 2010-11 council experienced their first council meeting this Wednesday at a (relatively) brief 3-hour meeting. It with former Vice President of Finance and Resources Peter Benesch carrying on a long-held A.S. tradition that had been halted in the past few years.

Benesch treated returning councilmembers with Moleskine notebooks and words of wisdom from his four years on council and two years on cabinet. He described President Wafa Ben Hassine as “inspiration in a bottle,” and insisted that next year’s students will be well off with her as leader of the university’s student council.

He also swore for possibly his first time on council floor. “Welcome to A.S. – it’s a big fucking deal,” Benesch said. “It’s your council so own it and appreciate the time you’re here even if you hate it.”

Brian McEuen and Erik Van Esselstyn, student representatives on the Registration Fee advisory committee, urged council to write Chancellor Marye Anne Fox a letter by next week’s UC Board of Regents meeting at UCSF. They urged the council to express concern over the use of registration fees for student life activities.

Former Campuswide Senator Tobias Haglund updated council on the status of his project, the A.S. store. He said the still-unnamed store will open Fall Quarter 2010 in Price Center West, where the current Sun God store is now. The store will sell A.S. merchandise, including items with the Sun God and Bear Gardens logos, as well as Greek apparel.

Council moved to appoint new Revelle Senator Erika Morgan in New Business, then moved to close the meeting in order to appoint a new successor for Speaker James Lintern.

For 45 minutes, the council kept all members of the public waiting anxiously outside the closed doors of the forum as they debated between Sixth College sophomore Cody Marshall and current Associate Vice President of Student Services Meredith Madnick. With a 19-6 vote, Madnick was elected to what may be one of the most difficult positions on council.

Warren Senator Kevin Hoang announced the Freshman Council dance on May 21 poetically titled “Highlight the Night.”

Jordan Taylor, UCAB chair, emphasized the importance of the changes that the University Centers Advisory Board can make. He hinted at council that UCAB is in dire need of “good leadership” for the positions of chair and vice-chair next year.

The only real discussion of the night centered around a change to the standing rules regarding whether to allocate a percentage of unused funds from the 2008-09 year to the General Initiative and Student Initiative funds.

Councilmembers expressed concern that the Student Initiative fund could be accessed by any undergraduate with an intent to hold an event.

Ben Hassine shushed the worriers quickly, saying that “SOFAB grills everyone before we give any [money] out. This provides that funding for any average Joe.”

Council agreed to split the General Initiative amendment from the Student Initiative amendment and tabled the motion, since the budget for the coming year will not be discussed until Week Nine.

During open forum, Muir Senator Lynne Swerhone expressed her desire to change the seating up every week in council and to be more social with everyone on a one-on-one basis.

Numerous councilmembers thanked the new council for a smooth and productive meeting and there was general good cheer all around as everyone left thinking of ways to spend the hours still left in their Wednesday night.

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