Christy Van Beek
In the final Associated Students Senate meeting of fall quarter, our representatives debated the merits of a resolution opposing Citizens United, endorsed the efforts of several campus organizations and focused on resolutions meant to improve the Isla Vista community.
When the floor was opened for public forum, several committees and groups on campus came forward to present matters for discussion. Among the issues up for consideration was a resolution brought forth by a representative of CALPIRG. When the issues were later deliberated on, On-Campus Senator Miya Sommers explained the 2010 Citizens United court decision.
The resolution states that “the U.S. Supreme Court 5:4 ruling on January 21, 2010 in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission rolled back remaining legal limits on corporate spending in the electoral process, allowing unlimited spending to influence elections, candidate selection, and policy decisions,” and that “this decision threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation.”
The resolution asks “that the AS Senate joins 11 other states in calling for amending the United States and California Constitutions to declare that corporations are not entitled to the protections or “rights” of human beings and to declare that the expenditure of corporate money is not a form of constitutionally protected speech.”
The resolution was later deliberated on, and some senators expressed concerns with making a decision that would affect the entire student body without a clear consensus of the desires of the students.
“I don’t feel nearly qualified enough just by being a student on AS Senate to make decisions about Supreme Court cases”, said third-year political science and history major and Off-Campus Senator Kaitlyn Christianson. “I feel like if you are passionate about this, mobilize,” Christianson continued. “But I feel like it is really presumptuous for us to say that all students are taking a stand on this.” After the resolution was discussed, it was ultimately not passed.
The successful efforts of student organizations were reported on throughout the meeting. The AS Student Initiated Recruitment and Retention Committee (SIRRC) reported several successful mentoring events between college and high school students. Rally committee is working on pairing up with organizations like Gaucho Locos and the Greek community to raise money before basketball games, including a recent event at Giovanni’s. The Bike Committee has repaved the bike path on the north side of campus, and is working on another project meant to fix the stretch of path on Ocean Road between Cordoba and Picasso roads over break. The senators were appreciative of the efforts of these campus organizations.
On-Campus Senator Kevin Rudolph proposed two resolutions throughout the meeting.
The first resolution, according to Rudolph, “allows staff and professors to get tax deductions for donating to the AS Food Bank.” The motion unanimously passed.
Rudolph also introduced a group project resolution meant to create a “101 things to do in Santa Barbara” list, to be placed either on UCSB’s admission website or the student affairs website. Rudolph’s resolution states “this would be a cool project because there are clearly many things to do here and there are also a lot of ‘hidden treasures’ and cool opportunities.”
Associated Students External Vice President Rhandy Siordia is working on obtaining a permit through the county to build a fence along the edge of the Walter Capps Memorial Park. Because it is the only park that does not have a fence, Siordia states that the addition “is a basic safety deterrent that isn’t there, which is very unsafe.” In light of the recent tragedy in Isla Vista, Siordia believes that “it should be really obvious why students need it.”
Siordia is putting together a proposal, and plans to go in front of the board of supervisors to request approval for the fence and a permit to build it, as well as financial support from the county by way of waiving the $2000 permit fee.
“As a county owned park, students should not be responsible for paying for such a basic safety feature,” Siordia states. “I want this to be a community effort.” Ideally, Rhandy hopes that the county will contribute funds in addition to student fees.
“Students are very excited about this. I just want to see the county support this project, and take responsibility for it,” Siordia said.
The efforts of the meeting, largely centered on programs meant to improve the Isla Vista community, will be revisited in Winter Quarter.