A.S. Council Brief: Constitutional Reform, Scholarship Committee and Library Renovations

Week 3

At the A.S. Council’s Week 3 meeting on Jan. 19, senators discussed constitutional reforms and individual senator projects. Additionally, they discussed the new Geisel Library renovations, increased student access to research materials, and the state of Geisel operations as students return to in-person learning.

Vice President of Campus Affairs Isaac Lara began with a presentation on his proposed changes to the A.S. Constitution. Major changes include restructuring Executive Officership, and reducing the number of College Senators for more equal and logical delegation of duties.

Lara proposes that his position be divided into three separate roles: Executive Vice President to handle senate responsibilities; Chief Communications Officer to handle marketing and outreach; and Chief Personnel Officer to manage attendance and hiring procedures.

Lara also proposed the reduction of the number of Senators per college from two Senators to one, in order to circumvent the issues that an inflated A.S. might face, such as unproductive discussions, as well as to ensure work is fairly distributed. 

“It tends to be that the labor always falls to one college senator, and then the other one tends to perform lackluster… or be impeached and removed,” Lara added.

However, the new Constitution is not proposed legislation currently, and Lara had intended for it to spark discussion during the Senate meeting. 

Next, Sixth College Senator Kharylle Rosario began with updates on senator projects. Rosario plans to distribute a range of self-care packages that Sixth College students can choose from via a Google form. In addition, Rosario updated the A.S. on her plan to collaborate with Sixth College Provost Chilukuri to form a scholarship committee that aims to enhance student engagement on campus.

Arts and Humanities Senator Rhianen Callahan spoke about their meeting with the Academic Senate Library Committee. Callahan explained that they had discussed increasing students’ access to educational materials by removing the steep costs of access.

“The library is willing to cover the fee [of open-access]…, so that there’s no more financial barriers [to students]… And the Academic Senate has created a committee to work with negotiating with publishers, so that we can get a lot of research and works available for free,” Callahan said. 

While renovations are ongoing, the library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. While the library hopes to return to regular hours soon, it is still awaiting guidance from campus administration. Library processes may also be slower than usual, as the library is short-staffed due to COVID-19 cases amongst library staff.  

Lastly, after speaking with two campus public health experts, A.S. President Manu Agni confirmed that UC San Diego was planning to return to in-person learning, events and Associated Activities after Jan. 31. Agni also explained that although professors and lecturers could not be mandated to podcast, Agni was working with Academic Affairs to strongly encourage more professors and lecturers to podcast lectures.    

Week 4

The Week 4 meeting on Jan. 26 was cancelled. According to A.S. Interim Executive Assistant Roy Velasquez, there were no urgent issues to pass on the docket, and many students felt that canceling the meeting would ease their transition to in-person learning.

A.S. Council meetings take place at 6 p.m. 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 by Ava Bayley for The UCSD Guardian

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