In With the New, Out with the Old: A.S. Senate Discusses Changes, New Faces and Policies

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Photo by Dominick Ojeda | Digital Photo Editor

Minh Hua
Campus Beat Reporter

Despite a rocky start at their inaugural meeting last quarter, the 69th Associated Students Senate’s first meeting of the school year went on to discuss important issues such as the special election for External Vice President of Statewide Affairs (EVPSA) and the appointment of a new chairman for Judicial Council. A.S. President Brooke Kopel also addressed the bike rack congestion at Campbell Hall.

After five months of a vacant EVPSA office due to the disqualification of Mayela Morales in May, Madeline Loudon, the runner-up of the Spring 2018 EVPSA election, is the only candidate listed on the special election ballot.

Special election rules dictate that a 16 percent minimum voter threshold must be met to validate the results. A.S. Elections Board will extend the voting period by one week if the threshold is not met.

The EVPSA position will be vacant until the A.S. Spring 2019 elections if the voter threshold is still not satisfied after the voting period extension.

As the EVPSA office is waiting for a new EVPSA, Alexandra Gessesse, the Campaign Organizing Director, urged Senate to pass a resolution to grant her and Loudon, the Legislative Liaison, temporary access to the EVPSA funds to fulfill the position’s logistical duties.

“We hadn’t anticipated that [the voter threshold might not be met, leaving us without an EVPSA], but if it does, that’s the condition our office is in already. We’re just going to continue mobilizing,” added Gessesse.

The resolution in question was tabled for a week, alongside A.S. President Brook Kopel’s appointment of Justin Nielsen as Chair of Judicial Council.

Currently, Raymond Alonso, a second year political science and history of public policy major, remains as the only member on the Judicial Council since the other two members graduated last year. As a result, the Judicial Council has not been able to meet the four-chairmen quorum to address petitions.

Despite Kopel’s glowing review of Nielsen’s qualifications, the appointment was met with scrutiny when Nielsen didn’t attend the Senate meeting. Some Senators cited the importance of being able to question Nielsen due to the fact that an elected Judicial Council Chair stays in office until graduation or impeachment.

“Since this position is going to be a life-term and they’re going to have a lot of judicial power, I just want to ask him questions for transparency,” said Letters & Science Senator Xochitl Briseno.

Senate agreed to table the appointment until they have had the chance to meet Nielsen. Proxy Rose Ettleson stipulated that this precedent be applied to future candidates.

Kopel also addressed the issue of the bike congestion around Campbell Hall during her President’s report.

According to Kopel, there is a new contractor building the new engineering hall and the bike racks around Campbell Hall rest on top of a utility line that is vital to construction.

“They think it’s going on for 13 more days, but by [Thursday] morning they’re going to put 160 feet of new bike racks in the Cheadle Hall corridor. There’s also going to be a bike path closure and reroute,” said Kopel, citing Administrative Services. Kopel urged students who have friends with classes at Campbell Hall to spread the word about the situation to avoid potential problems.

Senate concluded the meeting with appointments, during which Off-Campus Senator Mordi Shadpour’s resignation was made official. Consequently, Shadpour’s potential replacement will be sworn in no later than the next two weeks.

As A.S. Senate makes its final transitions into the new term, senators continue to stress the importance of student involvement, specifically in regard to the EVPSA special election.

“I think it’s really important that everyone goes out and vote because the EVPSA is such a unique position in the way that they meet with legislators that make decisions on behalf of all students and the EVPSA vacancy hinders that process,” said Off-Campus Senator Christian Ornelas in an interview with The Bottom Line.

According to Davis Quan, Chair of A.S. Elections Board, the special election will start on October 4 at 8 p.m. with soft campaigning. It will end on October 11, when the results will be announced. Candidate forum will take place in The Hub on Friday at 11 a.m. and voting begins Monday at 8 a.m. on GOLD.

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