10/15 A.S. Council

10/15 A.S. Council

After reading several A.S Council columns, I was dreading the experience of what I thought would be several hours of pointless, sleep-inducing conversation. I already get plenty of that from my ex-girlfriend. However, the freezing temperature of the room forced me to stay awake and realize it wasn’t so bad. The meeting began with public input from the A.S. Council graphics team who presented the council with free beanies from Triton Outfitters. After this surprise was met with cheers from the council, I understood that this group of student politicians tries to have fun, despite the overwhelming odds. Snaps for you, A.S. Council.

After a few more cases of public input, the council moved into Reports of Members. The first noteworthy report was from A.S. Council Advisor Hayley Weddle who spoke about the Triton Fest event Haunted Hoedown, which takes place Oct. 24 from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Weddle was trying to recruit zombie volunteers from Council, and many members gladly volunteered to be covered in zombie make-up, something I look forward to seeing. Next, Senator Lee reminded members to sign up for A.S. Council Safe Rides, something everyone reading this should be reminded of as well. Finally, in the first of a series of unfortunate Sun God related events, A.S. Council President Dominick Suvonnasupa mentioned that nothing about Sun God is set in stone, but there will be a meeting on Nov. 2 for further discussion.

As I was busy trying to take notes, someone in the council exclaimed, “The factor of the week is Tristan!” (Tristan Britt, A.S. Financial Controller). Following this, someone played the music video for Taylor Swift’s song “Wildest Dreams,” something I didn’t know I should look forward to at an A.S. Council meeting. In fact, I wouldn’t have needed any convincing to write this column had I known they would play Taylor Swift. Unfortunately, they abruptly stopped the video before Taylor could kiss Scott and moved into special presentations.

The first special presentation came from the Statewide Organizer for the UC Student-Workers Union. As a brief background, all of the workers on UC campuses are either UC employees or are contracted workers who work for for-profit companies. UC workers earn a higher wage and receive health insurance and benefits while contracted workers do not. The presentation included a moving video of a contracted worker at UC Berkeley who works over 90 hours per week in order to send money home to his family in El Salvador. The presentation was impactful and called for A.S. Council to support the campaign to get all contracted workers to become UC employees.

What followed was a discussion of the A.S. Council Budget, a topic which made up the bulk of the meeting. A.S. Council Treasurer Britt began his powerpoint with the song “ABC” by the Jackson 5. While I’m sure most members of the council would rather be anywhere else, at least they try to keep it fun. Britt took the council through a series of factors contributing to last years budget shortfall, including Sun God going over by $250,000. Of course, all of this means that the budget this year will have to be smaller, and of course that means that Sun God will have to be smaller. In four words, Council has no money. Why is it that everyone is always short on money?

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the discussion. Apparently A.S. Council is constitutionally obligated to continue funding an organization, UC Student Lobby, which no longer exists. They have been able to get around this by simply reallocating the money, but in the case of a litigation and an adverse ruling by J Board, this money will need to be put into a lock-in fund. Though I spent the summer working at the New Mexico Department of Finance, I was pretty much lost here. But so was half of the Council. Revelle College Senator Roger O’Neill asked how much money is being set aside in the case of an adverse hearing. After a minute of complex financial talk, a frustrated O’Neill didn’t get is answer. FYI, it was $38,347. Let’s hope A.S. Council gets to keep this money.

After the Council moved to approve an updated version of the bill, they moved in line-item analysis. Although I would have loved to stay for the fascinating line-by-line discussion of the budget, something I’m sure lasted hours, I got lost on my way to the bathroom and unfortunately couldn’t find my way back.

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