Tuesday, November 30

USAC recap – Nov. 16



The Undergraduate Students Association Council passed a resolution Nov. 16 in support of student-initiated and student-run projects overseen by the UCLA Community Programs Office. The Mother Organizations have voiced concerns about the CPO’s management of these projects, alleging that the CPO has mishandled student fees and has fostered a hostile work environment for student leaders.

Public Comment:

  • Alexia Macahilas, the president of Samahang Pilipino and a fourth-year Asian American studies and education and social transformation student, said she is concerned about the CPO’s treatment of Samahang Pilipino and other UCLA Mother Organizations that represent and advocate for students from underrepresented and marginalized groups at UCLA. She said the CPO has continuously denied students full autonomy within their own projects, and she urged the council to pass the resolution that details students’ responses to alleged administrative oversteps. She also asked USAC to demonstrate solidarity with the Mother Organizations coalition.
  • Justin Rodriguez, the internal chair of MEChA and a fourth-year economics student, said the CPO has allegedly engaged in unprofessional behavior by delaying projects, regularly harassing student leaders and engaging in student government politics to deplatform students who disagree with its policies. He also said the CPO is responsible for hiring delays, hostile meetings and pushback on any attempts to hold CPO accountable in the last 15 years.
  • Sachi Cooper, the 2020-2021 USAC Facilities commissioner and a member of the Community Service Mini Fund, said she encourages student organizations to apply for an emergency CS Mini Fund, which closes Wednesday. The CS Mini Fund is a student-led program designed to address social problems and service disadvantaged groups.
  • Robert Watson, the 2019-2020 USAC President and a former board member of UCLA’s Queer Alliance, said CPO has allegedly engaged in queerphobic actions and intimidation tactics. It also allegedly misused student fees, which harmed student-run and student-initiated projects, according to Watson.
  • Nidirah Stephens, the 2018-2019 USAC Academic Affairs commissioner and a former access coordinator for the Afrikan Student Union, said CPO is experiencing a large breakdown in leadership and accountability. She added that the CPO has also undermined student leadership.
  • Karren Lane, the 2001-2002 USAC President, the 2000-2002 ASU president and a UCLA alumnus, said she is concerned by the loss of student control of projects funded by student fees. She added that as an alumnus, she has experienced CPO staff discouraging students from connecting with their alumni. She also said USAC should protect student fees and ensure that student grievances are taken seriously.
  • Eden Bui, the external assistant director of the Asian Pacific Coalition and a fourth-year communication student, said she wanted to stand in solidarity with fellow groups in the Mother Organizations coalition in their dispute with the CPO administration. Bui said that CPO has structurally removed student autonomy and self-determination, creating a toxic and unsafe environment for student organizing.
  • Naomi Riley, the 2020-2021 USAC president, said the retention of students of color, particularly Black students, should be a priority of the university. She added it is important to listen to Black students who want to be removed from the toxic environment the CPO has created.
  • Emily Luong, the 2020-2021 USAC internal vice president and a former member of the Vietnamese Student Union, said the CPO has allegedly created an unsafe work environment for many of the student staff who have worked on the projects, which has allegedly negatively impacted the retention of students of color.
  • Jennifer White, a UCLA alumnus and a former CPO staff advisor, said she encourages the council to support student leaders in their struggle against the CPO.
  • Mandla Kayise, a UCLA alumnus and a former advisor of the Campus Retention Committee, said he encourages the council to respond to students’ grievances with regard to the dispute with the CPO. He added that USAC should ensure the CPO uses student funds as intended and that they are distributed in a way that respects the integrity of student-initiated, student-run organizations.
  • Angela Jackson, UCLA alumnus and former CPO member, and Imani Duncan, an ASU access coordinator at the Student Initiated Outreach Center, said they both supported students’ efforts in their allegations against the CPO.
  • Jeffrey Umaña, the access coordinator for MEChA, the internal representative for the IDEAS and the SIOC Chairperson, said in a written statement the council should stand in solidarity with the Mother Organizations coalition as it defends its autonomy and authority. He added that he will move the SIOC to pass a memo of no confidence in CPO.
  • A council member read a written statement from the Pre-Physician Assistant Club at UCLA and other student organizations that disagreed with the $100 per student event and $395 per quarter fee for utilizing classroom projectors after 6:30 p.m. They added that many organizations do not have the financial means to afford this fee and that the use of projectors should be free and accessible.
  • A council member read a written statement from Nina Gao, the co-president of Pre-Physician Assistant Club at UCLA, who called on UCLA’s Audio Visual Services to eliminate the 6:30 p.m. campuswide projector-locking system. She added that many organizations on campus meet after 6:30 p.m. and need to access these projectors. The statement also said the fee for student event use is not equally accessible for all student organizations and should also be removed.
  • Quinn O’Connor, a representative from the Disabled Student Union, said DSU has been calling on the university to provide hybrid learning options, which she said is feasible if the university allocates the appropriate resources. She added that the council met in a hybrid format Tuesday, which exemplifies that UCLA could also provide hybrid learning options.

Allocations:

  • The council allocated $76.88 to GlobeMed, an organization that promotes global health equity, for a projector.
  • The council allocated $650 to CFan Chinese Theatre Group for its Telemachus retreat.
  • The council allocated $65 to the Association of Chinese Americans for its game night with the Vietnamese Student Union.
  • The council allocated $300 to Consult Your Community, a pro bono consulting group, for a photoshoot.
  • The council allocated $1,101.91 to Global Medical Group, an organization that provides free medical-dental services in Latin America.
  • The council allocated $30.99 to Medleys A Cappella for its winter concert.
  • The council allocated $650 to Student Stroke Force at UCLA, an organization that conducts research projects on the efficacy of drugs and procedures for patients with the onset of acute ischemic stroke, for its winter volunteer development retreat.
  • The council allocated $99.31 to Students for Community Outreach, Promotion and Education, an organization that provides resources for underserved populations in Los Angeles, for its game night.
  • The council allocated $22.99 to Bruin Home Solutions, an organization that leads multifaceted sustainability initiatives, for its scavenger hunt.
  • The council allocated $987.33 to the Biomedical Engineering Society, $688.33 for its holiday party and $249.50 for its Mentorship House Cup Fall 2021.
  • The council allocated $285.30 to Artreach at UCLA, an organization that provides disadvantaged communities opportunities for art, for its art exhibition and $340.33 for its Artreach Paint and Sip Social.
  • The council allocated $149.89 to Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship for its Chi Alpha Weekly Service.
  • The council allocated $245 to Bruin Wellness to Enrich Little Lives, an organization that promotes wellness on campus and at elementary schools in LA, for its yoga and nutrition lessons.
  • The council allocated $270 to Alumni Scholars Club for its Cookies and Cramming “Grab-n-Go” event.
  • The council allocated $109.67 to DataRes at UCLA, a data science organization, for its demo day.
  • The council allocated $500 to the American Cancer Society for its website and advertising.
  • The council allocated $500 to the Undergraduate Mathematics Student Association for membership T-shirts.
  • The council allocated $345 to Net Impact at UCLA, a social impact consulting organization, for its general meetings.
  • The council allocated $185.33 to the Regents Scholar Society for its fall study night, $255.33 for its holiday party and $29.33 for its webstore subscription.
  • The council allocated $225 to the USAC Office of the Internal Vice President for its finals de-stressing events.
  • The council allocated $142.67 to the Alumni Scholars Club for its holiday card making event and $500 for its Networking 101 event.

Resolution:

  • The council approved a resolution outlining students’ response to alleged administrative overstepping of student-initiated, student-run projects. The resolution said USAC stands with the MOs. It added that the CPO and Student Affairs administration should be held accountable for the alleged mistreatment of students within the CPO, toxic work environment and failure to provide financial transparency. The resolution also called for the firing of all CPO staff members that have contributed to the alleged actions and transferring the Academic Supports Program and Students Heightening Academic Performance through Education away from CPO’s control. Additionally, the resolution commits USAC to withholding funds from CPO until the demands of the MOs are met.

Appointments:

  • The council appointed Lucy Yin, a first-year computational and systems biology student, to the USAC Finance Committee as a general member. Yin said she hopes to expand on her past student government experience from high school and is excited to foster an inclusive environment on the committee.
  • The council appointed Dane Elliot, a first-year economics and Korean studies student, to the USAC Finance Committee as a general member. He said he hopes to increase transparency by informing student organizations that they can apply to contingency funding.

Reports:

  • USAC President Breeze Velazquez said her office released the first issue of “Breeze’s Business,” a summary of updates from the most important meetings she attended this quarter. She added that the Student Advocate Board, which helps students with issues regarding the student code of conduct, is scheduled to have another training in the coming week. She also said the Future Student Leaders of Color Conference is organizing workshops and panel discussions and securing meal vouchers and care packages for the upcoming conference next quarter.
  • External Vice President Sarah Wang said UCLA was honored at the 2021 #ALLINAwards with the Most Improved Voter Turnout Award for the Athletic Challenges Awards Ceremony as well as a Golden Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for nonpartisan student voter participation in the 2020 presidential election. She added that her office attended the UC Student Association Board Meeting and reached a compromise of $1.5 million for the budget proposal for free menstrual equity products, which the UCSA proposed to the UC Office of the President.
  • General representative 1 Hailey Valles, said in a written statement her office is working on an anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia training module. She added that her office is planning the Decoding Academia programming for the winter.
  • Academic Affairs commissioner Angelina Quint said her office’s Disability Justice and Education Director attended the UC Access Now conference to learn how AAC can get involved with advocacy efforts. She added that her office released an anonymous feedback form. She also said her office finished sending out notification emails to recipients of Books for Bruins. Quint added that she met with the DSU to discuss the creation of an American Sign Language major and minor and met with the Undergraduate Council to discuss moving the deadline for students to change the grading basis from a letter grade to pass/no pass in future quarters.
  • Community Service Commissioner Mominah Subhan said in a written report that applications for the Community Service Mini Fund are due Wednesday of week nine. She added that the CSC funding bodies are open to all student organizations.
  • Facilities Commissioner Jane Ni said in a written statement that her office is pushing the Center for Accessible Education to hire new disability specialists and an ADA-504 compliance officer.
  • Financial Supports Commissioner Emily Yu said in a written statement that her office is collecting new and gently used Arduino kits to expand her office’s academic materials loaner program. She added that she met with the UCLA Store and an Associated Students UCLA marketing representative to discuss the feasibility of setting aside a certain number of blue books and scantrons to give to the Student Retention Center. She said her office attended the Undergraduate Commuter Committee fall meeting to learn more about commuter student issues and initiatives. Yu also said her office received a quote on lab coats from the Science Supply Store for her office’s Lab Coat Expansion proposal.
  • Student Wellness Commissioner Tayloneei Jackson said in a written statement her office attended a Drug-Free Schools Committee Meeting to discuss programming and ongoing initiatives, including increasing access to Narcan and Fentanyl testing kits. She added that her office was planning to discuss the Health Equity Summit report with the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Steering Committee.
  • Transfer representative Herman Luis Chavez said in a written statement that the applications are open for the annual Turkey Day food box distribution program that provides a turkey and the ingredients for a full Turkey Day dinner for six to nine people. They also said that transfer students should apply to become a Bruin Ambassador, a program that encourages prospective students and explains paths to UCLA, to increase the number of transfer perspectives in the program.
Sydney Scher
Campus Politics editor

Kovach is the 2021-2022 assistant News editor for the campus politics beat. She was previously a contributor for The Stack. Kovach is a fourth-year global studies student at UCLA.


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