AS Senate Discusses and Passes Resolutions, Hears Finance Board Budget


Lily Cain
Associated Students Beat Reporter

During the meeting on Wednesday, April 24, Associated Students Senate discussed and passed two resolutions: one which voices support of a University of California Regents meeting being held on campus, and one which calls to divest from the prison industrial complex.

Sen. Miya Sommers, author of the resolution entitled “A Resolution in Support for a Regent Meeting at UCSB,” believes that since all the UC Regents meetings this year were held at UC San Francisco, a graduate school, it is almost impossible for students to attend.

“This resolution lays out the importance of having students being present at these meetings and having the chance to talk with Regents,” said Sommers. “This is asking that…we as a senate write a letter to the Regents asking them to have these meetings at [University of California, Santa Barbara] and that this will be readopted at the beginning of each year by the Senate in the mindset of each Senate that there needs to be accountability from the Regents.”

The resolution passed with consent, meaning that, as stated in the resolution, the Senate agrees with and endorses President Sophia Armen’s request to have the meeting on May 14-16, 2013, moved to UCSB. In addition, they ask that the UC Regents become more transparent by holding their bimonthly meetings at different universities in the system to make them more accessible to undergraduate students.

Another resolution discussed and passed was “A Resolution to Divest From Companies Profiting From the Prison Industrial Complex,” which was first proposed at the April 10 meeting by Sen. Navi Kaur but was tabled two weeks due to other items of higher priority.

The resolution presents many statistics, which show the unbalance in the number of minorities in the United States versus the number of minorities in prisons, and how prisons profit off the work of prisoners.

“This is essentially divesting from companies that profit off the prison industrial complex, essentially prison labor by these individuals in prisons,” said Kaur. “As a research institution I do not believe we should be funneling our money into such companies.”

The authors and student supporters believe that private prisons are institutionalized racism and prison labor is essentially a new form of slavery.

“This has a lot to do with institutional racism. It’s very prevalent in our society,” said third-year Katlen Abu Ata. “It’s absolutely horrifying that we are targeting people of color in this country and criminalizing them and according to the 13th amendment we are allowed to implement indentured servitude through our prison industrial complex.”

The resolution passed with consent after some debate about whether the wording of one of the statistics was misleading.

Also heard during the meeting was a report from the chair and vice-chair of Finance Board, Raul Martinez and Safa Lele, respectively. They presented their budget for the 2013-2014 year, and took questions from senators.

They explained about how they took $32,000 out of staff salaries in order to increase funding to other areas as a result of an increase in the size of AS. They also explained that the budget would be reorganized if lock-in fees such as the one for The Bottom Line passed.

The budget process will continue at the next meeting on Wednesday, May 1, where Armen will present her budget, which will differ from Finance Board’s budget on account of the passage of lock-in fees from the elections.

Photo Courtesy of Associated Students