A.S. Council Brief: In-Person Commencement, New CARES Act Funding, and Student-Employees to get COVID Vaccine

This edition of the UC San Diego Associated Students Council Brief news update includes their Week 7 and Week 8 meetings.

Week 7

The Associated Student Senate held their Week 7 meeting on Feb. 17, 2020 to discuss the possibility of an in-person commencement and CARES Act Funding for UC San Diego.

Commencement for graduating UCSD students becomes less likely, but still a possibility. The Chancellor will be informing students towards the end of March or early April whether an in-person commencement will take place to provide sufficient time for students to make arrangements. All attending students are expected to have received their first vaccine at least a week before the ceremony. The commencement, if held in-person, will have a virtual option for those who cannot attend or do not feel comfortable physically joining.

UCSD, as part of the second round of CARES Act funding, received $52 million with $17.4 million that will be directly awarded to students in the form of financial aid. For additional information, visit the CARES Act website. A.S. Senate representatives will be meeting the Vice Chancellor and Financial Aid Director to cover issues including a lack of communication from campus to the student body regarding the CARES Act funding and distribution.

A new podcast called FYI – First Year Information is now available on Spotify and Anchor. In the biography of her podcast, the host, Ella McLaren — a first year senator at UCSD, says she “will discuss how the pandemic has led to a unique experience for first year college students here at UCSD, as well as highlight valuable resources available to students during this time.”

To submit questions or comments, you can contact Ella McLaren. New episodes will be uploaded in the coming weeks. 

The Human Rights Committee, which was created earlier this academic year, is working with student organizations to find ways to help those fighting for democracy in Myanmar. Currently, the Myanmar Student Association is meeting with the Vice Chancellor. This meeting will determine how to move forward; more information is set to be released soon.

During a meeting with the student regents and their designate, it was discussed that the UC system is under pressure from the state of California to be partly online. Due to limited space and the desire to produce more UC degrees and graduates, the state is pushing for UC campuses to offer online courses in the future.

Lastly, the California Governor’s office, with the legislative leadership, has stated that they have reached a deal on an immediate COVID-19 relief package, which would include a full restoration of the UC budget.

Week 8

In the Week 8 A.S. meeting, student-employee invitations for vaccines have been sent out and further discussed the possibility of an in-person commencement in the summer.

Invitations to receive vaccinations for student-employees working in departments that demand physical work, including Resident Assistants and shuttle drivers, have been rolled out. This invitation is specific to UCSDemployees only and should be received either via MyStudentChart or email.

The UCSD 2021 commencement is dependent on how fast vaccines roll out. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was recently approved, could speed the process of the roll out and increase the likelihood of an in-person commencement. If graduates are able to be vaccinated before commencement, there are hopes that they will be able to walk and physically participate. By the second week of April, more detailed information is set to be released.

A representative from San Diego Councilmember Joe LaCava’s office presented the desire to implement a three pronged system to enfranchise UCSD students. This would include offering monthly reports through the AS Senate regarding the council member’s actions, hosting community forum roundtables to stimulate robust discussions, and quarterly community breakfasts that include UCSD student participation and input. Office hours are also open for those interested. The representative will be offering updates regarding the councilmember in the coming weeks.

In response to the recent vandalization of an AEPi house with the drawing of a swastika at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in February, several UCSD students of Jewish backgrounds made a special presentation condemning anti-Semitic language and behavior. Later on throughout the meeting, a additional presentation was shared regarding an IHRA Resolution to acknowledge, define, and condemn anti-semitism. 

Presenting a segment on “UC Policy on Gender Recognition and Lived Name Wednesday,” Dr. Shaun Travers explained the policy that would encompass gender recognition, which would inlude a minimum of three equally recognized gender options – woman, man and nonbinary – as well as the ability to easily change and update for students, employees, alumni and affiliates. Lived names would include first names, idle names and/or last names or surnames. The Lived names would be used whenever possible in the course of university business and education while legal names would be used minimally. Additionally, UCSD would expand options of sexual orientation and encourage the use of pronouns.

Regarding student safety and welfare, COVID tests now require the use of a student ID. There is a one cent charge but that charge will be cleared. The recommendation is to take one to two tests per week — the card swipe system only allows up to two uses.

For the upcoming Fall 2021 quarter, it is reported that there will be enough housing to accommodate all first-year students, even if the entire school were to implement singles only capacity housing. The decision regarding the percent of classes that will be online will be made before professors submit their classes for the fall this May.

Artwork courtesy of Yui Kita for The UCSD Guardian.

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