During the final Associated Students Senate meeting for fall quarter last night, Public Forum speakers proposed a resolution addressing the Citizens United Supreme Court case while Senators debated the allocation of honoraria for the quarter.
UCSB CALPIRG representative Mohsin Mirza spoke to the Senate about the 2010 Citizens United case, which effectively gives corporations the same First Amendment rights as people and allows them to fund political campaigns without limitation. Mirza encouraged Senators to contribute to CALPIRG’s grassroots effort by passing a resolution opposing the ruling and detailed the ways in which Citizens United hurts the democratic process.
“[Citizens United] is a huge problem for democracy,” Mirza said. “Politicians stop representing citizens and start representing donors. They don’t owe the people.”
CALPIRG representative Devon McNaughton elaborated on the organization’s goals in an email to the Nexus, high- lighting the potential A.S. resolution as an important step towards repealing the bill.
“Basically, we’re trying to get A.S. to sign a resolution opposing Citizens United,” she said. “Eventually we want Santa Barbara County to sign a similar resolution and it will help to be able to say that students support it.”
According to McNaughton, similar actions condemning the ruling have been taking place throughout the nation.
“Many cities across the country have passed similar resolutions, and 11 states have as well,” McNaughton said. “The goal is to get as much grassroots support as possible for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United so that legislators are pressured to act.”
The Senate had not yet discussed the pro- posed resolution as of press time.
Senators spent the majority of their time debating honoraria allocations for themselves and for other organizations, resulting in a disagreement regarding whether to approve honoraria for the Flacks Intern in the Office
of the Executive Director. While one of the principal duties of the
Flacks Intern is holding an A.S. Congress during fall quarter, this year’s intern was not able to do so and asked the Senate if he could push back the Congress to winter quarter. Some Senators felt he no longer deserved any honoraria as a result, while others pre- ferred to wait for more information about his responsibilities before deciding the fate of his potential paycheck.
Senator Tyler Washington’s proxy argued that the board should not debate the issue without hearing directly from the intern in question.
“I would be really pissed off if I found out that someone gave me a penalty or something without talking to me about it,” he said.
However, Senator Amir Khazaieli said monetary compensation would be inappropriate and referenced an email in which the intern reportedly asked to not be given a stipend.
“This is something he agrees on,” Khazaieli said. “I think that it is completely out of place for us to be discussing giving him money.”
The Senate eventually agreed to approve the intern’s request to change the date of the Congress meeting on the conditions that he would not receive honoraria for that portion of his duty and that he must present himself at the first Senate meeting of winter quarter.
The board then turned their attention to their own honoraria, approving most pre-determined amounts while honoring a few exceptions. One Senator, Kevin Rudolph, requested a reduction from the possible $420 to the $220 he felt he deserved while another Senator’s honorarium was reduced to $100 on the basis of too many absences.
The Senators agreed to devise a more detailed formula for calculating individual honoraria in the future and went on to discuss ongoing efforts to make Isla Vista a safer community. The board also com- mended the recent accomplishments of organizations including the Coastal Fund, Rally Committee, the Isla Vista Community Relations Committee and the A.S. Bike Committee.