Thursday, March 4

USAC recap – Feb. 16



The Undergraduate Students Association Council discussed the reallocation of $200,000 in undergraduate funds to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The USA Elections Board chair also presented a finalized version of the election calendar to the council.

 

Public Comment:

  • Arsh Gupta, the Associated Students UCLA Board of Directors undergraduate representative, said that delivery robots made by Starships Technology will now be able to deliver food from campus restaurants to students ordering from the Starship app. Gupta added that UCLA Trademarks & Licensing signed up for new licenses in Brazil and Chile to expand its brand internationally and sell products from the UCLA Store in the two countries.
  • Ira Phatak, the director of investigations on the elections board, said the board cannot sanction prospective candidates in the 2021 USAC elections who campaigned ahead of schedule because the rules did not exist or were not clarified in the elections code at the time of the violation. The elections board released new guidelines on campaigning and social media regulations, and candidates will have to respect the board’s authority, Phatak added.
  • Laura Gong, the undergraduate representative for the Research Continuity working group within the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force, said the university will allow some undergraduate student researchers to return to campus once UCLA enters phase 3 of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s vaccine rollout.
  • Alexander Berry, the director of the Congressional Advisory Board, said he wants to hold a public meeting with CAB members, USAC representatives and administrators to discuss creating a platform to allow better discussion between students and administration.
  • Kyle Radwanski-Ortega, a co-founder of the Disabled Student Union at UCLA, supported Berry’s proposal and said a joint hearing will let the USAC commissioners show the student body that they are actively supporting students with disabilities and other minority groups on campus.
  • Sean Kim, a grassroots coordinator for the California Public Interest Research Group at UCLA, said CALPIRG is calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to commit California to use 100% clean energy by 2030.

 

Special Presentations:

  • Gus Wendel, the assistant director at cityLAB, a research center at UCLA’s architecture department, said the center is currently working to create policy and design ideas for public spaces, such as sidewalks, parks or underutilized spaces like alleyways and parking lots. Wendel added that the center is also studying affordable housing options in Los Angeles and California by researching ways to transform underutilized spaces into housing spaces.
  • Alejandro Salas-Villa, Ashley Ceballos and Gabriella Hernandez from the Future Student Leaders of Color Conference, a conference that aims to teach California high school students about college leadership, gave a presentation on their organization. The conference helps students of color in high school develop their leadership skills and learn more about student government and student organizations in college, Salas-Villa said. The Future Student Leaders of Color Conference will be held on April 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ceballos said.
  • Yejoo Kim, the Community Activities committee chair of the Program Activities Board, and Jerry Ngo, the Campus Programs Committee chair, presented a proposal to reallocate $200,000 from PAB’s undergraduate fund to student COVID-19 relief funds. PAB, composed of CPC and another CAC, is a university funding body that financially supports student programming.
  • Alfred Tun, the elections board chair, announced the finalized election calendar to the council. Tun said he extended the student signature deadline to give students more time to file petitions to initiate referendums or amendments to the USAC constitution. Additionally, Tun added he set the times for the candidate debates on April 27 and 28 at 6 p.m.

 

Allocation:

  • The council allocated $119.40 to E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity, an organization that aims to address environmental issues, to fund its social media management.
  • The council allocated $184.03 to Kyodo Taiko, an organization that promotes Japanese American taiko drumming, for its apparel.
  • The council allocated $304.50 to Samahang Pilipino, for its cultural event and scrapbook.
  • The council allocated $25 to the Pre-Pharmacy Society at UCLA, a student-run organization whose primary mission is to serve undergraduate students pursuing pharmacy-related careers, for its winter 2021 raffle.
  • The council allocated $58.12 to Vietnamese Student Union for its annual alumni dinner.
  • The council allocated $121.21 to the UC Coalition for Reproductive Justice, an organization that advocates for access to rape test kits for student survivors on all California public university campuses, to fund the organization’s reproductive health workshop series.
  • The council allocated $100 to Students for Integrative Medicine, a student group that raises awareness of evidence-based and holistic approaches to health, for its virtual self-care and wellness event .
  • The council allocated $436.64 to Nova, an organization that develops technology that allows nonprofits to better serve their communities, to fund its virtual reality in its Global Lives project.
  • The council allocated $476.01 to UCLA MoneyThink, an organization that provides financial and professional development mentorships for underserved youth, for its financial literacy event.
  • The council allocated $973.52 to DevX, a design, technology and entrepreneurship organization, for its BruinBot demonstration.
  • The council allocated $62.50 to the Undergraduate Communication Association, a student-run organization that promotes the field of communication, for its sweatshirts and gift cards giveaways.
  • The council allocated $600 to the Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA, for its “Wheel of Violence: Who Holds the Power?” event.

 

Reports:

  • USAC President Naomi Riley said she is working with the UC Student Association Racial Justice Now coordinator Naomi Waters to organize the UC Campus Safety symposium, an event that discusses policing and safety issues on UC campuses. Riley said she met with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Monroe Gorden to prepare for a meeting with Chancellor Gene Block on policing, campus safety, commencement and the return to campus in fall 2021. She also said she met with the UCLA administration to discuss public health compliance and strategies for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Riley added that she met with UCLA Strategic Communications to discuss an opportunity to collaborate with TikTok influencers to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s affected them.
  • Internal Vice President Emily Luong said her office has been working to update guidebooks on technology resources and basic needs resources. She also said her office is planning a social media campaign with ASUCLA and other organizations to promote the guidebooks to students. Luong added that the Off-Campus Living Fair will be on Feb. 25 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • External Vice President Aidan Arasasingham said he met with the UC President Michael Drake about campus reopening plans, campus safety, UC sustainability, recruitment and retention. Arasasingham also said his office will host a briefing on doubling the Pell Grants, which will feature Drake, Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission Marlene Garcia and students from UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley.
  • General Representative 1 Laura Laubach said her office will meet with the New Student & Transition Programs on March 2 to discuss collaboration opportunities and recommendations for how the program can help integrate returning students to campus. She also added that her office is organizing a spirit event, which will gather a diverse pool of alumni to help current and incoming UCLA students understand life at UCLA.
  • Financial Supports Commissioner Noe Garcia said the COVID-19 Relief Fund has received over 100,000 applications and added that he expects the number to go up in the future.
  • Transfer Student Representative Zuleika Bravo said her office has been working with the elections board to discuss the lack of clear language in the election code regarding whether units obtained at community college can be counted toward the unit requirement candidates must fulfill to run for the USAC presidency. Bravo added that she will meet with Rep. Ted Lieu on Feb. 22 to advocate for expanding financial aid and doubling the Pell Grant. Bravo said she is working with a UCLA search committee to hire a new transfer student director out of a pool of 100 applications.
  • International Student Representative Bakur Madini said a student studying at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York had passed away in their home country of China. Madini said the student’s death was preventable and called on departments to accommodate students who are studying remotely from abroad.
  • Facilities Commissioner Sachi Cooper said her office released an open letter about safe parking for unhoused students and asked the student body and student organizations to sign onto the letter.

 

The Undergraduate Students Association Council is the official student government representing the undergraduate student body at UCLA. Council meetings take place every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. during winter quarter and are open to all students. Winter quarter meetings will take place virtually on Zoom; links for the meetings can be found on the Internal Vice President’s Facebook page. Watch a livestream of the meetings on the USAC Live! channel on YouTube.

 

Ben Brill

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