The A.S. Council meeting began on a positive note today as Kriti and I got front-row seats after people in front of us left; we were initially sitting down in the second row. It’s pretty bad that the most interesting thing I can start the column with is about switching seats with someone. The overall night was wrought with technical difficulties and great comments from Revelle College Senator O’Neill, but it all began with public input—there wasn’t any.
The first special presentation was given by John Armijo and Nicholas Raichart from the Office of Ombuds. Besides being a really fun word to say, an ombud is a conflict mediator for informal matters. They deal with issues ranging from grading and paper authorship to communication and harassment complaints. To make their presentation fun, the ombuds quizzed the council on what the standards of conduct for ombuds are, offering free chocolate bars as incentives to participate. Confidentiality and neutrality were the first two. After seeing the first letter was an ‘I’, O’Neill guessed the word “intense,” which to everyone’s surprise was wrong. By the way, the last two standards were informality and independence. If you have a conflict that you want to resolve without unnecessary drama (aka the law), the Office of Ombuds is a very useful resource available to anyone at UCSD.
The next special presentation was from Campuswide Senator Van de Streek who talked about his Senator Project. During the summer, attended was an African American male leadership conference called LeaderShape. Van de Streek talked about his experience at the conference and how important it was for him, and he decided to bring that experience back to San Diego. His Senator Project will be to organize a similar conference for high school students in order to help them attend college. It is a noble project and I hope Van de Streek is successful in instilling the values of leadership in future college students.
Perhaps the most important news of the night was during new business. Avi Oved, Student Regent on the UC Board of regents, Facetimed in to talk about a new student regent advisor proposal. Avi could not make it in person because he has two midterms on Thursday (we all feel your pain). The proposal in question would add a non-voting seat to the Board of Regents for a student advisor (for example if the Student Regent was an undergraduate, the Advisor would be a graduate, or vice versa). Many of the regents are on board (that is a damn good pun), but Avi said he is in full “House of Cards” mode: whipping the vote. Some of the reasons Avi outlined that regents have against the proposal are absurd, such as not having enough physical room at the table. Of course dumber things have been said in politics, but I don’t want to talk about tonight’s GOP debate. Let’s hope Avi is as good as Frank Underwood and can get this proposal passed.
The Council then moved into reports of members, during which O’Neill was mistakenly placed on the speakers’ list for after stretching. While I was taking notes in the frigid room, jealous of A.S. Council President Dominick Suvonnasupa wearing his warm and cozy purple blanket, Council moved into an executive session to discuss the headliner for Hullabaloo. This could be exciting, I thought. But my hopes were squashed as all of the members of the public were asked to leave. These top secret discussions must be too sensitive for public knowledge. I was tempted to call this meeting a success before this happened because I already knew I would get to reference both “House of Cards” and O’Neill in this column, but Council had to ruin my night by kicking me out.