Four student senators announced their resigna- tion during last night’s Associated Students Senate meeting, adding to a total of nine Senate resigna- tions since the beginning of the year.
Former senators Patrick Kennedy, Steven Beringer, Tejas Patel and Ricardo Gallegos official- ly resigned from their senatorial duties, and while each gave different reasons for their departures, the growing resignation trend is beginning to concern other senators.
On-Campus Senator Patrick Kennedy, co- author of last week’s bill attempting to limit meet- ing length, addressed the senate during public forum, citing mental health as the main cause for his departure.
“It’s a really tough decision for me, but the length of these meetings has taken a toll on my personal well-being and my grades,” Kennedy said.
Similarly, Senator Steven Beringer cited personal academic struggles as the rationale for his untimely leave, describing the situation to Internal Vice President Mayra Segovia by email.
“I have been having a lot of family [and] personal issues in regards to my academic performance,” Beringer said in the email.
Senators Patel and Gallegos also resigned via email as well, making Kennedy the sole senate member to personally address the group and explain his departure. Additionally, Patel and Gallegos also attributed their respective resignations to an inabil- ity to balance senatorial duties with other responsi- bilities.
In a debate about meeting length, Kennedy claimed lengthy meetings were an impor- tant factor in the overwhelming number of resignations.
“We’ve already had one third of the Senate quit for this reason,” Kennedy said.
Senator Ben Green, who does not plan to quit Senate, noted the weight of their responsibilities, taking the absence of Senate members at the meeting as a sign that the senators were being worked too hard.
“I see a lot of empty seats and that’s indicative of the stress the Senate puts on us,” Green said.
Segovia announced during that same meeting that she had met with A.S. mem- bers from other UC campuses and had been surprised to learn that none of them had dealt with resignations.
While last week’s bill to cut off meet- ings at 9:45 p.m. did not pass, Senators did resolve to brainstorm ways to make meet- ings more efficient and thus less stressful. Nevertheless, the four resigned former- senators were not persuaded to remain.
In light of last night’s resignations, Off- Campus Senator Kaitlyn Christianson
delivered an emotional address stating her personal frustration toward the situation.
“This is killing me. This is ridiculous,” Christianson said. “I think everyone in this room can tell how much it’s affecting us.”
Christianson continued to argue that meetings were in fact getting shorter as everyone had begun to become acclimated to their positions.
“We’re getting better at it. Our 4:00 a.m. meetings were the first few meetings of the year,” Christianson said.
She then called for more honesty between senators and implored them to remember their duties to the student body.
“More than anything, I want us all to be honest with each other. Please be hon- est with the Senate,” Christianson said. “Remember why you ran for this. Why are you here? It’s a big friggin’ deal … You have so much more power than people who want to make a difference … We have to be that outlet when people have grievances.”
The new resignations leave several open seats in the Senate. If the people who received the second-highest number of votes in last spring’s elections do not choose to fill those spots, the Internal Vice President will be forced to begin a new application process.
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of January 17th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.