At the Associated Students Senate meeting during Week 1, the senators discussed a number of topics including the organization and implementation of the housing strike that was presented in front of Geisel Library on Friday, Oct. 1. The members also discussed a number of other items such as parking.
Ian Fosth, who is involved with the student council at Seventh College, spoke about the recent Housing Dining Hospitality strike and said that the HDH strike included both undergraduate and graduate students.
Fosth highlighted how the demonstration centered around the student perspective of the repercussions of the rent hikes and lack of student housing.
“The rally is sort of meant in part to incorporate an undergraduate perspective,” Fosth said. “And to sort of showcase a show of force in terms of student opinion and a student perspective. Both in terms of the issues of housing that graduate students and undergraduate students have been facing.”
A recent University Affairs meeting was presented by Vice President of External Affairs Adrianna Blackshire, who serves as a member of the University of California Student Association. The UCSA is a coalition of both students and student governments across all University of California campuses, serving the purpose of giving collective voice through both direct action and advocacy. Their efforts are designated to advocate for accessibility, affordability, and the overall quality of the UC system for current and future students.
Blackshire said that UCSA has begun to focus on the impact of COVID-19 has had across all UC campuses in regards to academic and student affairs.
“A lot of students are not able to get into the class that they need,” Blackshire said. “It’s actually heavily impacting financial aid to the point where they are not getting the necessary credits, they are now being considered half time instead of full time students.”
A.S. president Manu Agni proceeded to present the vaccine mandate for campus and the current Return to Learn measures.
“The Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs has begun a student conduct process for students who are not in compliance with the UC vaccine mandate which is enforced now,” Agni said. “So either being fully vaccinated, in the process of being vaccinated, or having approved an exemption to that mandate.”
Agni then noted that there have been numerous concerns raised from undergraduate students, both to himself and other senators, regarding parking. Parking has been filling up fairly early in the day, with parking challenges taking place particularly in the central part of campus.
“In the meantime parking on the periphery of campus at the Regent’s parking lot on the east side and Gliderport parking on the west side is significantly more available,” Agni said. “It’s also cheaper than parking on the central side of campus.”
For undergraduate students, “S” parking permits are only available via the ParkMobile app. The code for the permit is 47400.
Other concerns Agni addressed was UC San Diego being heavily impacted by the nationwide labor shortages. This has caused a shortage of labor in regards to food service labor, transportation labor, and other vendors operating at UCSD .
According to Agni, HDH has reported “some significant challenges” with these labor shortages, including a shortage of student employees that led to extended hours and having to deal with a higher workload than usual.
“HDH on campus has been having some pretty significant labor challenges,” Agni said. “Including not having enough student employees and this has led to some student employees being pretty overworked and not in the correct workload balance.”
Agni mentioned that those living on campus have also dealt with longer wait times for food in dining halls and from other vendors. While the university is in the process of hiring more staff, students living on campus have had different menu offerings, other options that take less staff time, a reduction in the number of dining stations available, and reduced hours at specific locations.
“Transportation on campus has also been pretty severely affected by staffing shortages,” Agni said. “There are conversations right now that I’m leading from the student side about potential service changes and service impacts.”
This is in regards to students experiencing long wait times for shuttles, customer service relating to parking, or related challenges.
Senators discussed plans to address UCSD’s housing crisis at their Week 2 meeting. A number of proposals were brought up to provide solutions to both housing availability and the cost of rent.
The housing crisis was mentioned by Isaac Lara to discuss plans to form an oversight committee to dispute any problematic procedures written into UCSD housing policies.
Other senators agreed with this and extended this idea by calling for the implementation of both a graduate and undergraduate committee to oversee the HDH policies. Arts and Humanities Senator Rhianen Callahan argued for further oversight over housing decisions such as rent hikes implemented on graduate housing and the lack of housing contracts given to returning undergraduate students.
“HDH needs a lot of oversight because HDH makes a lot of decisions that only affect the basic needs of students on campus,” Callahan said. “We should be able to have the power to look over it and review the decisions before they approve anything.”
Afterwards, Lara introduced a potential project for a new campuswide committee that would deal with the current housing crisis to form a larger oversight committee to gain the ability to address any questionable policies the campus has implemented. This committee — if approved — would not only include undergraduate students but also graduate students and faculty members.
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.
Art courtesy of Yui Kita for The UCSD Guardian