A.S. Council Brief Weeks 1 & 2: In-Person Attendance and Geisel Library Renovations

Week 1

In their Week 1 meeting, the A.S. senators discussed recent updates with their projects and the issues with required in-person attendance for classes this quarter. The senators also discussed possible solutions to required in-person attendance during their meeting.

First, Off-Campus Senator Michelle Chiew gave an update on the housing fair: it will take place on Library Walk on May 11 from 12 p.m. to3 p.m. The theme will be “Housing Search Turned Inside Out” and the purpose is to help students figure out how to obtain housing off-campus and inform them about resources on campus to learn how to sign leases and negotiate rent. 

Transfer Senator Anna Zick informed others about her work with the transfer hub to improve orientation for transfer students. Zick claimed that they are trying to make extra modules for orientation and get feedback from other orientation leaders on how to improve future transfer orientations.

Next, Arts and Humanities Senator Rhianen Callahan gave an update about the situation with the anthropology department, where the former critical gender studies faculty member Dr. Saiba Varma has been accused of conducting research that violated ethical guidelines. Citing the sensitivity,  Callahan would like to host an event on how to move forward, which will be open to anyone who wants to come. 

Moreover, A.S. Council will have professionals on site to help. Lastly, Callahan expressed interest in hearing any questions or concerns about the library (Geisel and Biomedical) to discuss during the quarterly meeting. 

Then, VP of External Affairs Adrianna Blackshire talked about the UC Student Association (UCSA) March board meeting and how they showed support for the United Autoworkers Union (UAW), which represents the interest of student workers on campus. The resolution passed and they had a discussion about the possibility for the EVP to attend UC Hill Day. 

The A.S. Senators then discussed the prominent issues with in-person attendance policies for classes. Callahan brought up an example where students could only miss one lecture or fail the class. If they miss one lecture, then they would have to write a two page history paper to make up for their absence. Some professors are saying if students miss more than seven lectures, then students automatically fail the class. 

While professors are trying to return to normalcy by requiring more students to show up to class, these policies have raised concerns for students who need more flexibility. Many of the A.S. Senators discussed the problems with participation points and classes that don’t record any lectures. Furthermore, they discussed problems that arise with COVID-19; forcing students to show up to class while we are still in the midst of the pandemic is very concerning to many students. Callahan recommended that students reach out individually to their professors to try to fix this problem. Sixth College Senator Kharylle Rosario brought up the idea of creating a survey to have more information about the number of students that are facing this problem so they can bring it up to UC San Diego. 

Moreover, COVID-19 is still a concern. Eleanor Roosevelt College Senator Isabella Ramos discussed that it is rare for professors to refuse to podcast. Since professors want students to attend class after such low attendance records, they are doing everything possible to get more students to show up. 

Week 2

In their Week 2 meeting on April 6, A.S. Council informed others about their projects, updates about the UCSD campus, and UCSD’s start to encourage electric energy. The senators especially talked about the new electric mobility project and the guest visitation policy. 

First, Arts and Humanities Senator Rhianen Callahan claimed that the renovations for Geisel Library should be finished by mid-August. Callahan brought up a slight concern with book security: since there are no gates to set off the alarms if books are taken from the library, the staff in Geisel library has noticed that more books are being taken from the library. They are trying to resolve this issue without having to close the floors containing the books. 

VP of External Affairs Adrianna Blackshire discussed how they are trying to increase the budget for menstrual products to be more readily available in public bathrooms on campus. Many times, these machines are empty when students need them. 

Blackshire also mentioned that President Drake’s quarterly meeting will be happening on May 11, where they will discuss COVID-19 and the new variant.

Next, President Manu Agni mentioned that students in Warren College, Sixth College, and ERC saw a refund of $3-11 in their spring 2020 fees because those college councils didn’t use that money. 

Agni also said that UCSD is applying for a grant of $25 million for a public transportation electric mobility project. The new Voigt Electric Mobility hub would be built adjacent to Triton Ballpark. As UCSD tries to reduce their carbon footprint, they are now looking to build a parking garage and electric bus depot.

Lastly, VP of Campus Affairs Isaac Lara noted that guests are now allowed on campus and in resident housing. However, A.S. Council encourages students to get tested before visiting, especially if they frequent high-risk areas, like restaurants, gyms, and any large public gatherings. A.S. Council meetings take place every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and are open to students by joining the Zoom link or Facebook live.

Art by Ava Bayley for The UCSD Guardian.

This article was updated on April 17, 2022 at 3:45pm to clarify details regarding the building of a new Voigt Electric Mobility Hub.