Council Talks Transit, Food Pantry at Wednesday Meeting

Today was the first A.S. Council meeting after Thanksgiving and it began with the usual roll call. It appears that everyone was in attendance, so I guess their food coma wasn’t so bad after all! Physical Sciences Senator Angie Aguilar received this week’s A.S. star membership for attending the last Bear Garden the whole time! Yay!

And, naturally, there was a comment by AVP Seraphin Raya on the UCSD Guardian’s Sun God article and the changes were clarified. Supposedly, what the Guardian reported was “eh” compared to what he said. I’m not going to get into this issue but I will give a shoutout to my fellow associate news editor Meryl Press for working passionately and writing a great article.

The first change was the elimination of the three-stage format in order to create more space for other types of activities. There was a mention of of carnival fair games and rides so people don’t feel forced to go off-campus and they have more things to do.

Also, A.S. Council is working with HDH to make sure students are properly fed and hydrated. Furthermore, there will be more crowd performers and the festival will not solely be about music. Quick note that the Guardian article did not say it was going to be an all-country festival. Just saying, so don’t panic people. And music talent isn’t compromised. They’re gonna have good talent. “Good” is a subjective word. Nonetheless, caution will be employed when artists are selected.

According to Raya, Diplo wasn’t a good idea because of his association to drugs and alcohol. There also may be a reinstitution of graduate student tickets to better include them in arguably the most well-known UCSD tradition. Also, according to Raya, they will be able to provide more support at the festival since they likely have more experience with alcohol. In addition, they are considering introducing a 21-and-over area since research says having a designated alcohol area and a professional bartender reduces alcohol-related incidents. Apparently, the university had professionals doing research over the past year focused on preventing these types of incidents. Nothing is set in stone but these are the ideas floating around.

Then there was a special presentation by the Triton Recovery group. The org’s mission is to create a positive, supportive group environment for students who are in or seeking recovery from substance abuse. An undergraduate student member of the group named Jack shared his story of how he became free of alcohol and drug addictions. He has been sober for over two years and has maintained a 4.0 GPA ever since. It was really touching and inspiring. Congratulations to you!!

Following the presentation, there was legislative committee. AVP Sierra Donaldson proposed a “Resolution in Support of the San Diego 50-10 Transit Plan created by the Cleveland National Forest Foundation’s Transit Campaign, Transit San Diego, as an Alternative Transit-First Plan to the San Diego Association of Governments’ 2050 Regional Transit Plan.” After a small amendment in the wording of resolution was made, the resolution passed. AVP Austin Peters asked Council if they read the resolution and only two people raised their hands. Oops. Hence, he urged councilmembers to suspend their vote until after everyone read the resolution and a presentation could be made made by the Sierra Club. AVP Daniel Firoozi followed by pointing out that many vote and formulate opinions on legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act, without actually reading it. Peters replied by saying most people don’t have to read the entire Affordable Care Act but Nancy Pelosi should since she’s voting on it. Gotta say, I did enjoy the banter. It woke me up just as I was about to fall asleep.

Then Donaldson pointed out that she brought up the resolution to bring awareness to the issue, not to force A.S. Council into voting for it.

The document went to a roll call vote after Peters emphasized that voting for this resolution was a political statement even though it’s for a non-profit organization. The resolution passed with 16 ayes and 11 abstentions.

Next, there was a special presentation by the AVP of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which was followed by an update from VP External Affairs Allyson Osorio. Osorio discussed the recent tuition plan and legislative proposals as well as the protests that have happened in the past couple of weeks.

Afterwards, President Boparai gave an update on the A.S. Food Pantry which he said would most likely be open early on during Winter Quarter 2015. He also said that he spoke to Vice Chancellor Student Affairs Gonzalez, who said that the administration is not looking to charge the individuals who protested the Ferguson verdict last Wednesday on the I-5 for violating the student conduct code.

Responding to a question from Campuswide Senator Nadia Lopez, A.S. Council Director Heather Belk later said that there’s a 99.9 percent chance Sun God Festival 2015 will be held on May 3, but not in the same format as past years.

A.S. Daily Operations Manager Hayley Weddle was announced as A.S. Person of the Week. Congratulations Hayley!

There were committee updates and then the meeting moved to new business, where AVP Travis Miller made a motion, which passed, to take $8,906 out of the Mandated Reserves to cover some of the costs to update the school’s voter system. The total cost of the project is $95,000 and will most likely be financed by eight groups, including the Graduate Student Association.

Then there was open forum where Lopez talked about protests against U.S. activities in Mexico and to commemorate the lives of the 43 Ayotzinapa students who were murdered.

The meeting concluded after names for the food pantry were proposed, some of which were humorous but insensitive to the purpose of the pantry. Osorio rightfully criticized the name selection process following the vote.

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