Associated Students President Charlie Arreola vetoed a bill instating the Human Rights Council as an A.S. entity due to concerns with its structure and finances.
At last Wednesday’s A.S. Legislative Council meeting, members approved the Human Rights Board as an A.S. committee by a 20-1 vote. Following Arreola’s decision, the council, which can override a veto by a two-thirds vote, will address the matter at its meeting tonight.
In his statement, Arreola called into question several of the bill’s elements, noting problems with its financial and organizational plans. The bill states that the new board will have a projected $0 fiscal impact for A.S. The HRB, however, calls for a Treasurer, Event Coordinator, Freshmen First-Year and Outreach Coordinator, as well as two Human Rights weeks per academic year, Arreola noted.
“I do not see how any of these efforts will be possible without tapping into the Associated Students unallocated dollars,” Arreola wrote.
According to Internal Vice President Chris Wendle, Arreola’s veto was a well thought-out decision.
“I agree with his veto,” Wendle said. “…as the IVP looking at the structure of A.S., in my opinion there is evidence that shows that A.S. is expanding a little too fast… We need to appeal to what we have now; make our student government run a little more efficiently and understand exactly where our money is right now before we spend any more on new A.S. boards.”
Arreola also listed other reasons for vetoing the HRB, including concerns about the vague nature of the group’s organizational structure, which calls for permanent directors from six non-A.S. groups and two A.S. groups. Another potential problem, Arreola wrote, is the HRB’s mission statement.
“These set parameters allow for the proposed HRB to take stances on political issues, which we have seen Legislative Council struggle with in the past,” Arreola said. “By approving this bill, Legislative Council will be legitimizing a board that can potentially take a stance on political issues. This can potentially place the Associated Students in a compromising position by marginalizing the student body.”
Nicolas Pascal, director of the UCSB Human Rights Council, said he was disappointed that Arreola did not share his concerns earlier.
“I would have preferred that he would have worked with the Leg Council members who were working very seriously in the drafting of this bill,” Pascal said.