Council Fails Amendments, Enterprise, at Last Meeting

The last A.S. Council meeting of the year was dry and long-winded, with the meeting starting nearly a half hour late.

President Alyssa Wing asked = to film this week’s meeting for a council advertisement. UCSD UC Haiti Initiative representative Brad Segal made a plea during public forum for council to give his organization the $15,000 remainder of the Student Initiative Fund. His plea failed because he was unable to specify where the money would go other than for use of discretionary projects. Students from the Student Sustainability Collective — including Public Health Director Annie Le and Civil Human Rights Director Victor Flores-Osorio — announced that Housing, Dining and Hospitality passed the bottled water ban last Monday, and it will be implemented in the fall of 2012. They also said Panda Express will stop using Styrofoam next year.

The Campus Affairs Committee proposed an amendment to add more non-voting members to the bylaws. The amendment failed because most non-voting representatives do not attend council meetings.

Associate Vice President of Enterprise Operations Brian McEuen attempted to enter a new enterprise, SwoopThat, into New Business and was met with objections that continued for at least an hour, if not longer. SwoopThat is a website that lists price comparisons on textbooks. There is no cost to join and a small percentage of each purchase would go to council.

The very first objection was by Vice President of External Affairs Samer Naji, who wanted to know whether McEuen and SwoopThat founder Jonny Simkin had discussed the website with the bookstore, and whether the bookstore would instead give council a small portion of its profits. McEuen and Simkin explained that they had approached the bookstore and it rejected Simkin’s offer to partner with them.

Engineering Senator Parminder Sandhu later said the multiple attempts to bring the bookstore into council were misguided and naïve.

Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Mac Zilber had multiple concerns as well. The first was that the issue was not brought to council until Tuesday and the second was the number of failed business decisions council had made in the past year. Zilber was strongly against student government taking on the market and how much money would be spent on advertising.

The arguments continued and repeated themselves and no one could have put it better than Associate Vice President of College Affairs Leonard Bobbitt.

“There has been an echo in the chamber for the last 20 minutes,” Bobbitt said.

Though I sometimes find his overly optimistic demeanor hard to listen to late at night, I walked out of the meeting at 10 p.m. thinking about how true his statement rang through the idiosyncratic nature of councilmembers through the years.

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