A.S. Council Brief: Transparency, Open-Textbook Program, and Graduation

A.S. Council Brief: Transparency, Open-Textbook Program, and Graduation

This A.S. Council Brief is for Weeks 1 and 2 of Spring Quarter 2021.

Week 1

The Associated Student Council held its Week 1 meeting on March 31, 2021 to discuss the establishment of performance standards for A.S. members, support of a UC-wide Open-Textbooks program, and proposed amendments to the A.S. Constitution. 

Associate vice president of Health and Wellbeing and chair on the Committee on Stipend  Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Isaac Lara gave a special presentation regarding the establishment of performance standards and probationary periods for A.S. members. 

Each member of A.S. Council will work with their respective entities to establish standards to discuss their performance, and this will be reported to the advocate general role. In the event that a member of the senate thinks that a particular individual is failing to meet their performance standards, they may request an investigation from the advocate general. If the performance of a member of A.S. Council is deemed unsatisfactory, then the advocate general may instill a probation period, where members will be subjected to heightened reports of activities and increased measures of accountability. Probation violations make an individual impeachable. However, even while on probation, pay reductions will not occur. This proposition was approved. 

Next came a special presentation by Anavi Jhaveri and Tiara Nourishad from the UC San Diego chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group regarding Support for a Grant Funded Program for Open Textbooks at the University of California. 

“The price of textbooks has increased 88 percent between 2006 and 2016… Students across campus and especially low income students are struggling to acquire these additional materials,” said Jhaveri.

Nourishad added that “65 percent of students reported not buying a textbook for a class even if their grade would be lower.”

CALPIRG strongly encouraged A.S. Council to advocate for the implementation of a system-wide UC Open Textbooks program that would increase student educational access and meet professor income deficits once they no longer have the option to assign their own textbooks as course materials. The council agreed to present this initiative at the next UC Board of Regents meeting.  

Proposed Amendments to the A.S. Constitution Relating to Majorities and Supermajority Requirements was originally motioned for discharge to the senate, but multiple college senators objected this motion, stating that they would like to speak with their college councils before voting on the amendment. The proposed changes looked to modify “unanimous” and “three-fourths” majority rules for vetoes and amendment proposals to a “two-thirds” majority across the board. College senators argued that as liaisons between A.S. and College councils, they have the right to discuss amendments with their respective college councils before voting on them, regardless of the councils’ power of review. After extensive back and forth, the vote was tabled for a future meeting. 

Week 2 

The Week 2 A.S. Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 7 included more details about upcoming events, safety initiatives, and potential Class of 2021 graduation plans. 

CALPIRG announced their California Climate Action Summit event, a gathering of social activists and community members, that will take place on Thursday, April 22 at 4 p.m. 

Off Campus Senators, Commuter Organizations, and Commuter Representatives will be hosting the All-Campus game night on Friday, April 16 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Students will get to play games, socialize, and multiple prizes will be offered. Interested students are encouraged to pre-register for the event

AVP Applications for the 2021–2022 academic year are due Monday, April 12 at 11:59 p.m. The A.S. Council will also be hosting a Find Your Fit event where students interested in getting involved with student government will have a chance to meet current members of AS and find which AVP position is the best ‘fit’ for them. Attendees are encouraged to take the Find Your Fit quiz and apply online

New campus safety programs meant to increase micro-mobility throughout campus were introduced. The Helmet Access Program will provide helmets to students at a discounted price  in an effort to increase access to helmets for riders. The Rider Rewards Program will supply stickers that students can purchase and palace on their helmets to receive discounts with local restaurants and retailers. The Reduce Speeds initiatives will be launched to decrease speeds of vehicles on campus. 

In addition to these, UCSD is currently waiting on guidance from the UC Office of the President regarding the possibility of having an in-person graduation. For now, the plan is to have an in-person ceremony with no guests, where students will walk but no additional guests are allowed. However, no plans will be finalized until UCOP approves. 

A.S. Council meetings take place every Wednesday and are open to students. Students can participate in these meetings by joining their Zoom link or tuning in on Facebook Live.

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