1/6 A.S. Council

Disclaimer: The weekly A.S. Council column is not meant to be a news story but rather an individualized account of what occurs at Council meetings. If the most interesting part of a three hour long meeting is President Suvonnasupa’s haircut or an outburst from Senator O’Neill, the writer has the stylistic freedom to mention that in his column.

This past Wednesday’s A.S. Council meeting was unusual, because while it was uneventful, it contained the biggest pieces of news to come out of A.S Council this year. No spoilers. Besides that, the meeting was short, sweet and harkened back to a more simple time before the controversies of media defunding and Rush Boobs. Although it is never too exciting to attend these meetings, I was at least happy to be out of the cold and rain. Sitting in the warm room next to my heartwarming editor Kriti Sarin, the Council had my undivided attention.

The night began with public input, the first of which was from Helen, who is in charge of catering and events at Home Plate. Helen talked about how Home Plate is an excellent space for fundraising and networking events and how the restaurant management is hoping to plan more events in the future.

Next, Mark Walsh, the assistant organizing director for CALPIRG, talked about some of CALPIRG’s initiatives. CALPIRG is a statewide non-profit which is fully funded by students. They have an ongoing campaign to save water and are continuing the effort to preserve the ban of plastic grocery bags (despite companies spending over 3 million dollars to fight back against them). One of their initiatives that particularly concerns students is their campaign to make college textbooks more affordable. The problem is that only a handful of publishing companies control the market, leading to insanely high prices. CALPIRG’s campaign hopes for professors to adopt open textbooks, books which can be purchased online for a fraction of the cost of most textbooks.

After this, Erin, an elected member at large for CALPIRG, talked about a campaign against Nestle, which has contributed to California’s drought by taking millions of gallons of water out of San Bernardino while bearing none of the costs of the drought. CALPIRG is planning to get the word out by screening a documentary for “Blue Gold” and by creating a panel with professors to reach out to students.

You’ve been reading, anxiously hoping to find out what the big news of the night was, and now the time has finally come. During reports of members, President Suvonnasupa announced the creation of a Housing Insecurity Committee which would work on creating a definition of housing insecurity and figure out what minimal standard of living the university is comfortable with. While this was an important bit of news, this was in fact not the most important news of the night. The most important news of the night was regarding a future A.S. referendum proposing that UCSD becomes a  Division 1 university. Suvonnasupa asked Council members to reach out to their constituents and talk about the school becoming D-1. It was decided that it was feasible, so the referendum will be put to a vote in Council and then, if passed, a special election for the students. Next week, the Council will be discussing D-1, so please come and give your input if you have an opinion;as we know from John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction,” everyone’s got an opinion.

The rest of the meeting went by pretty quickly. It had been a while since I’d heard the words “factor of the week,” but this week’s factor was the entire first year council(How adorable. After a few seconds of thinking, President Suvonnasupa settled on playing Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dreams,” which was just fine by me. During question time, Senator O’Neill asked a question that is still on a lot of students’ minds: are there any updates regarding media funding? Naturally, the answer was that nothing has changed but Council leadership is still in communication with the legal department about the issue. Shortly after this, the meeting ended and I was forced back into the cold and rain. At least I had shoes on, which is more than I can say about Senator O’Neill. Godspeed senator.