AS Senate Discusses UC Worker Demands, Disabled Student Transportation, and UCSA IGNITE


Kelsey Knorp
AS Beat Reporter

Associated Students Senate passed resolutions regarding a variety of issues at its final meeting of the quarter on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Among these issues were support of University of California workers, transportation for disabled students, fundraising for typhoon relief, development of the new AS Pardall Center, and the University of California Student Association (UCSA) IGNITE campaign.

Discussion of “A Resolution to Support UCSB Employees,” which was tabled at the Senate’s Nov. 13 meeting, was reopened with a presentation by author and On-Campus Sen. John Soriano on requested figures regarding worker pay and benefits. One figure cited was the wage of a UCSB senior custodian as compared with those of senior custodians employed by the California State University system, California community colleges, and Kaiser Permanente, which showed the UCSB wage coming up short by at least 15 percent in each comparison.

Additionally, accordingly to Soriano’s research, UC food service workers earn less than the amount recommended by the state of California for an acceptable standard of living. In fact, many UC workers often qualify for public benefits such as Medi-Cal and food stamps.

Many of the workers’ demands, which drove the Nov. 20 strike by American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees 3299 (AFSCME), would be accommodated through a readjustment of executive salaries and other benefits.

Collegiate Sen. Ali Guthy stated that her supportive stance on the resolution had only been heightened by a workshop she and several other senators attended the previous weekend at the annual UCSA Students of Color Conference.

“I feel like there’s a lot of momentum behind the workers,” Guthy said. “I feel like they have a valid reason to be striking [and that] these numbers clearly demonstrate that.”

“A Resolution to Create a Transportation Service for Students with Mobility Limitations” calls for the continued development of a program that has been in the works for the past four years and hopes to implement its first pilot program in the spring. The program, a result of efforts by Associated Students Administrative Staff and the Transportation Service Workgroup, would provide transportation for students with both temporary and permanent disabilities.

Off-Campus Sen. Beatrice Contreras and On-Campus Sen. Nikki Calderon presented “A Resolution to Provide More Aid for the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund” in hopes of enhancing their initiative’s ability to raise funds for typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines. The terms of the resolution called for a raise of the initiative’s collection cap from $5,000 to $25,000, to be matched by Associated Students.

AS President Jonathan Abboud sponsored the resolution, supporting its logic that a higher financial goal would increase motivation to contribute. Ultimately, it was passed with a compromised-upon cap of $10,000.

“A Resolution In Support of the AS Pardall Center Development,” authored by Collegiate Sen. Amir Khazaieli and Off-Campus Sen. Nick Onyshko, ratifies decisions made throughout fall quarter by an ad hoc committee assigned to the development of the new Associated Students Pardall Center, located in Isla Vista at 6650 Pardall Rd. It also calls for the creation for a master plan to allow for sustained efficient use of the space over upcoming years. The space is currently available for use by Associated Students Boards, Committees, or Commissions (BCCs) and other members of Associated Students.

Another resolution, put forth by University-Owned Housing Sen. Belen Verdugo, proclaims Senate support for the UCSA IGNITE (Invest in Graduations, Not Incarceration, Transform Education) Campaign. The campaign seeks to reallocate state funding to more heavily emphasize the educational system instead of state prisons. Accordingly to Verdugo, current distribution of funds has a tendency to feed the “school-to-prison pipeline” that exists in many regions throughout the state.

“This campaign is meant to pressure representatives to take on legislation that would help prioritize education and also encourage diversity within the UC system—not only the UC system, but in higher education institutions period,” Verdugo said.

The resolution passed after a 19-1-1 vote in the Senate.